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Legal Week: Staff complaints force red-faced A&O into Facebook U-turn

Allen & Overy (A&O) has been forced into an embarrassing climb-down after the firm’s IT department was bombarded with staff complaints following a firmwide ban on social networking website Facebook.

IT chiefs took the decision to block access to the website due to concerns that staff downloading videos from the site would compromise the performance of A&O’s IT systems.

However, a series of complaints from staff across the firm led IT director Dave Burwell to email the entire London office on Tuesday (22 May) saying the ban had been lifted.

He said: “Given that there has been a strong reaction to the blocking and that Facebook is used by many people for networking – for business purposes as well as social – we are going to open up access to the site again.”

A spokesman confirmed that staff will now be allowed to access the site as long as they do not view videos. Burwell stressed that while the decision “flies in the face of [A&O's] normal policy”, it was made because the site has business benefits as well as social uses.

Facebook consists of a number of interlinking networks and allows individual users to ‘poke’ one another, share personal information and upload photographs. The A&O network on Facebook currently has 732 members.
Legal Week

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