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Survey: CIOs tightening access to social networks

As social networking becomes more popular in the workplace, many CIOs and IT managers are limiting employee access to sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Concerned over the use and abuse of social networks, many CIOs are now clamping down on employee access to such sites, according to the results of a Robert Half survey released Tuesday.

Among the chief information officers questioned for the survey, 38 percent said they've created stricter policies on employee use of social networks compared with 17 percent who said they've relaxed their rules.

Many CIOs are particularly worried that sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a distraction from work. As a result, 23 percent of the executives surveyed said they've placed limits on social networks when used for personal reasons, while only 15 percent have tightened access to such sites when employees use them for business.

Robert Half International

A Robert Half survey released in October found that more than half of the CIOs interviewed block all access to social networks. That percentage stayed the same according to the new survey.

Social networks present a two-way street for businesses today. Employees can use Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with customers and contacts and promote their organizations. But these sites can also be a distraction and a temptation to inadvertently post sensitive company information. The challenge for a business is to balance the risks with the rewards and find the right solution in the form of social-networking policies, noted Robert Half.

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to social-networking policies," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement. "To be effective, guidelines should include input from stakeholders throughout the organization, including IT, legal, human resources, marketing, public relations and front-line employees."

The survey, conducted by an independent research firm in January, was based on phone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. Multiple answers were allowed. The responses were weighted based on location, industry, and number of employees. Robert Half is an IT staffing company.