Is social media a risk for financial institutions?

by: Steve Culp

The rise of social media and the number of social network users has risen dramatically over the last few years. In fact, from 2012 to 2013, the number of users around the world rose from 1.47 billion to 1.73 billion—that’s an 18 percent increase in a single year. And the numbers are projected to grow to 2.55 billion by 2017.

There’s no escaping social media in the workplace either. Among Fortune 500 firms, 77 percent have active Twitter accounts, 70 percent have Facebook pages and 69 percent have YouTube accounts.

Risk management capabilities are not keeping pace with explosive growth of social media

However, company risk management capabilities have not kept pace. Traditional risk management policies and procedures were not designed for the rigors of monitoring social media chatter to identify brand, strategy, compliance, legal and market risks—risks that might be considerable.

 What are the risks?

Social media is a powerful channel for financial institutions. It offers value for branding, marketing, advertising, corporate communications, servicing and grievances resolution. On the other hand, it is also one that can expose companies to a wide range of risks including reputational and brand risk. Negative social media commentary can result in loss of trust and revenues, but it can also produce more serious types of risk.

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