Experian takes control of social-media risk
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Experian takes control of social-media risk

The use of social media by financial institutions has grown – from a non-existent base – during the past two years, but security fears have tempered the pace of adoption, a risk the recent media hacking by the Syrian Electronic Army lays bare.

Experian, the global financial information company, has become the first financial institution to garner the services of CrowdControlHQ – the UK developer of professional social media risk-management tools – to keep its social media activity monitored and under control. The new platform designed and implemented by CrowdControlHQ allows users to control user permissions across their entire business. “[The platform gives us] the ability to block, automatically delete or flag posts that fall outside what I consider acceptable parameters,” says Caroline Bromley, Experian’s security specialist. “This enables us to catch potentially damaging posts or tweets before they go live.”

The platform can monitor LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and news. It can block Facebook posts automatically or by notifying administrators first. The system can also automatically block or send for moderation all outgoing messages, posts and tweets. Buzzwords or swear-word dictionaries can be tailor-made to meet the requirements of specific clients.

Social media has become an important platform for financial institutions and other businesses to correspond with clients, monitor customer feedback and even for recruitment, but there are myriad risks attached with using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Financial institutions need to be especially careful about the information they provide through social media outlets because of the nature of the business, explains Denise Haskew, head of marketing at CrowdControlHQ.

“There are myriad legal implications associated with the information they give out through social media and the reputational damage caused can be irreversible," she says. "More often than not, some sensitive information can be leaked and could cause real problems. The service we offer can limit some of these issues.”

While Experian is the first high-profile financial institution to adopt the service, CrowdControlHQ expects many more to follow. According to Haskew, there are six more financial institutions looking to implement the platform in the next couple of weeks.

Changing trends

According to the social media leaders report issued by Corporate Insight – a market researcher focused on the financial services industry – the use of social media by financial institutions has grown exponentially during the past couple of years, with Twitter outpacing Facebook as the most popular media outlet for businesses.

According to the report, at the end of 2011, 92% of the firms tracked that actively engage clients through social media have a presence on Twitter compared to 88% of firms that have a presence on Facebook.