Rising image use brings new dangers to social media

A picture is worth a thousand words – with all the risks that creates. News that Instagram has overtaken Twitter, with 300 million monthly active users now on the photography-based social network, suggests we could be witnessing a move from text-based communication to a more image based one, and a rapidly growing channel of content to consider in terms of security, compliance and reputation risk.

This was recently highlighted by the rather unfortunate US Airways retweet of a highly inappropriate picture (an extremely graphic picture of a woman engaged in a sex act with a model Boeing 777) which was tweeted to a customer who complained about her Spring Break flight - and to its 418,000 followers.

With only an estimated 17 per cent of UK organisations (Source for Consulting) using any social media management system, the potential for damage whether intended or not, are accelerating. James Leavesley, CEO at specialist company CrowdControlHQ, predicts that, “with mobile phones primed to instantly edit, frame and post, the epidemic is set to continue.”

The threat of rogue social media has been slow to attract the attention of some risk managers and governance boards, but US experiences are now creating a greater awareness of the damage to brands that these breaches can cause.

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