Look Before You Leap – A Warning To Seafarers On Their Social Media Postings
A warning has been issued by The Norwegian Hull Club to seafarers on chances of journalists and pirates using their postings shared on social media.
Though social media networks such as Facebook, Sina Weibo and Instagram are a medium to get closer with families and friends, there are side effects where traditional media and journalists use it more a kind of information.
The Club has cited some vital examples on how things can lead to unexpected consequences just because of sharing some serious and important information on social media.
A couple of examples from Facebook that contributes to some unprecedented actions are as follows:
A Facebook post made by a crew member on board one of its members offshore units. The unit was in distress and being evacuated: “We are currently awaiting helicopter evacuation away from this unit – anchor chains punctured one of the legs in the heavy weather tonight. Home, sweet home!”
In another case, a master was informed by his company that one of their vessels was hijacked. On his open Facebook profile, he discussed detailed information about the hijacked crew members on board with another colleague.
The Club states “We know that pirates are using social media actively in their communication and information gathering. The above mentioned master did not think about that. Neither did he know that everyone could access his open Facebook profile.”
The Norwegian Hull Club also uses the social media in case of emergency and they consider it as an as intelligence source. Also the Club reaches out to its clients through Social Media to create awareness on current situations.
Henceforth, the club asks seafarers to consider the consequences of their postings:
- Security/safety risk: If Norwegian Hull Club can find your post, it is possible that people with evil purposes could find it. Do not put yourself and your colleagues in danger in a thoughtless second.
- Economical risk: Your company might be fighting hard for their contracts in a challenging market. “Funny” party pictures from on board your vessels could be enough to send the client to a competitor they see as more professional.
- Reputational risk: When you are on board, you are representing your company. A scatterbrained comment that you think you are sharing with your friends, can make headlines in the hands of a journalist looking for “breaking news.”
The Club also offers the following checklist to ask before posting:
Will I be OK with my superior seeing this?
Will I be OK with the shipowner seeing this?
Will I be OK with a client seeing this?
Will I be OK with a journalist seeing this?
Do I know how open my social media profile is? Am I familiar with the default Facebook settings?
Do I know all my Facebook friends?
Do I know the intentions of my high school classmates from 20 years back?
Is my post in compliance with the company media policy?
Am I the nominated media spokesperson?
If your answer is “no” to any of the above questions, you should probably reconsider your post, says the Club.
Source: Norwegian Hull Club