International Conference on Engineering Failure Analysis edition:5 location:The Hague date:1-4 July 2012
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, SunZu and likewise social media have become commonplace in our modern society. Companies that are not yet active on these platforms will unavoidably run behind their competitors that have embraced social media in their marketing strategy and in their communication to customers and other stakeholders.
Also as to communication on quite technical matters, such as failure analyses of consumer goods or industrial installations, social media are gaining influence as platforms for discussion, sharing ideas and experience. On LinkedIn alone there are several dozens of groups, closed or open to the public, that debate and stipulate on failure analysis in general, on specific types of failure or on failure of specific components in particular. Yet, what are the associated risks? Are all group participants sufficiently qualified to give an advise? If you launch a question in these groups, is it wise to assemble your own answer and plan of action based on advises that are usually quite short and sometimes even contradictory? The advises given in these groups should indeed be regarded with lots of caution. And what
with the inevitable legal implications and liability issues for everyone concerned?
In this article the joint forces of an engineer and a lawyer focus on who are the stakeholders in technical discussion groups in social media and elsewhere and to what liability they are subjected. Exposure of confidential data, free sharing of knowledge that could normally have been invoiced, making conclusions based on incomplete or even unreliable information, it are just some examples of the dangers hidden inside discussion groups on the internet and elsewhere.