US bank Citi is looking to hire an attorney to provide legal oversight for its social media activities.
The associate general counsel will cover Citi-sponsored media such as company Web sites, Twitter accounts, and YouTube. They will also overlook the bank's interaction with the public and third parties as well as staff use of the technology.
Over the summer, Citi hired Frank Eliason - who gained a reputation as a "Twitter guru" in his previous role at US cable, phone and Internet provider Comcast - to lead its social media efforts.
The bank has embraced the social Web, particularly Twitter, using the medium to offer customer support and take part in a Finextra Twitterview.
More recently it has moved to expand its presence on social networking site Facebook. This week Citi launched a US banking page on the site and garnered more than 7000 fans on its first day.
From tomorrow, the Citi Facebook page will support charitable group Toys for Tots, by encouraging consumers to post a story about a favorite childhood toy they received as a child. For each story posted, Citi will donate $10 to Toys for Tots, up to $100,000.
However, it has also run into problems in the social sphere, blocking the account of a social networking site for gay men over its blog's "objectionable" content earlier this year. The bank was forced into a climbdown, issuing a full apology to the site's founder Jason Goldberg.
More generally, regulators have been moving to tackle the new communication channel. In January, Finra issued guidance to securities firms and brokers on the use of social networking Web sites such as facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to communicate with the public.
The new Citi social media lawyer will be charged with:
- Continued development and management of documentation for Citi-sponsored Web initiatives (internal and external).
- Leading the establishment of legal risk framework for the company's social media efforts.
- Working with specific business counsel to ascertain approval of content, as appropriate.
- Consolidating, identifying and addressing legal issues presented in content submissions for the social media sponsor.
- Helping to establish consistent processes for vetting and replying to comments in interactive environments (Web sites, Twitter, etc) and promoting consistency of policy implementation and risk-related practices.
- Helping protect Citi intellectual property in the world of social media.
- Helping oversee negotiation and drafting of contracts with third parties such as social media providers and content sources.
- Serving as a resource for Citi's business areas and business counsel as to inquiries regarding legal risks and parameters for social media.