What’s up with deleting WhatsApps?
I’ve been interested to read about recent incidents where ‘business’ communications on social platforms like WhatsApp, have been deleted.
Having been around the block a bit, it reminded me of the early days of corporate email communications, when email was not viewed as a formal business record.
Policies about the retention of email messages generally didn’t exist because of the relaxed view of email in the workplace. If there was a corporate policy about email, it was usually for users to delete them to stay within their pitifully small mailbox quotas.
All of this changed when email messages started playing significant roles in high-profile litigations, with the smoking gun being an email that was thought to have been deleted.
The corporate world soon realised that what they did not know could in fact hurt them, and governments moved to pass legislation imposing regulatory compliance requirements for specific industries to keep records.
Luckily, technology helped, with larger storage capabilities, email journaling, email archiving, retention policies and eDiscovery search tools becoming commonplace.
For example, many regulated institutions including finance, healthcare, governments, and energy now retain email and collaborative content on platforms like Microsoft’s 365, using third-party solutions to plug any gaps (enter the Essential team!).
Discover more about capturing social messaging from multiple sources.
So, what’s up with WhatsApp messages?
WhatsApp – especially during the pandemic – became a useful communications tool across all sectors.
Just like an email, they might include contractual agreements and critical information exchanges with external parties.
Now, consider the (now familiar) scenario where an employee decides to (or is asked to) delete their WhatsApp messages.
Can you confidently ensure that the other party involved won’t bring these messages to light in the future, especially in the context of legal proceedings?
By treating WhatsApp messages in the same proactive and responsible way as their email communications, businesses can make informed decisions, reduce risks, ensure compliance, and safeguard their integrity and interests in a rapidly changing business environment.
Opting to remain unaware and make excuses only carries risks.
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