Porsche bans employee access to social media to avoid espionage

Article by Christian A., on October 11, 2010

According to the latest reports, it appears that Porsche blocked employees' access to social-networking platforms such as Facebook Inc. and Xing. Sources say that Porsche AG took this decision in order to protect the sports car-maker from industrial espionage.

The German manufacturer said that it is afraid that foreign intelligence services may be spying on workers posting “confidential” information on websites such as Facebook but also on other Web-based services.

Dirk Erat, a Porsche spokesman, said that the social media websites may expose the automaker to unwanted observation. Back in May, Facebook said that it will fine-tune its privacy settings and simplify the way personal information is shared via its network.

For those who don’t know, Facebook has more than 500 million members, and the website had drawn criticism from users and lawmakers, who complained that it hadn't gone far enough to keep private data under wraps.

“These services imply a certain threat potential,” said Dirk Erat, Porsche’s spokesman. Barring access at workstations to sites including EBay Inc. reflects “principal company policy,” he added.

In the past few years, there has been no doubt that substantial growth has been achieved by social networking platforms. It has become inevitable that carmakers would join millions of companies and businesses into the social media fray not just to show off their presence, but also to promote their products and launch their campaigns.

This is mainly because social media can be rightly considered as the most cost-effective way to reach customers and promote their new vehicles and even services.

For instance, GOSO filed a report in February saying that around 25.5 percent and 10.9 percent of dealerships have their own Facebook page and Twitter account, respectively. The report revealed that most active vehicle brands on Facebook are Chrysler, Buick, Chevrolet, Mazda and Jeep. Twitter, meanwhile, is dominated by Toyota and Chevrolet.

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