By Marino Eccher, Globe Correspondent
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are more popular than ever, but companies are cracking down on how their employees use those sites at work, according to a new study from Robert Half Technology.
And the squeeze is tighter in New England than it is elsewhere.
Nationally, 38 percent of chief information officers surveyed said the growth of social networking sites as a business tool has led them to implement stricter policies on such sites. That figure includes changes to policies on both personal and business use.
Seventeen percent of chief information officers said they’ve eased up their policies. More than half of companies surveyed said their policies on social networking sites have not changed.
Among New England firms, 46 percent of companies say they’ve gotten stricter – and just 8 percent say they’ve loosened their policies. Jack Fellers, regional vice president for Robert Half International, said companies have been forced to define their policies on social media because the use of sites like Facebook and Twitter is “becoming the norm.”
The number of people who use social networking sites has grown exponentially over the past few years. Facebook currently boasts more than 400 million users worldwide – up from 100 million two years ago.
Twitter said yesterday that it has 105 million users. Fellers said some companies have revamped their policies because they don’t want employees broadcasting sensitive internal information via social media, he said. Others simply don’t want workers frittering away the day on Twitter.
“They want less social and more business,” he said.
Fellers speculated that New England companies may be stricter than most because the region is home to a number of health care, technology, and finance companies that work with sensitive information. He also said that because social media use has grown so quickly, many policies are still works in progress.