Don’t be a twit on Twitter

Monday 19th January 2015

Sky News has reported recently on two twitter disasters.

The first was about a Labour councillor has been suspended for retweeting a doctored Conservative election poster on Twitter which shows a photo of a Nazi death camp.

The lesson? It’s a useful reminder that if you retweet, you are endorsing the content of the tweet so be careful what you retweet.

The second was about a stockbroker who tweeted “Think I just hit a cyclist. But I’m late for work so had to drive off lol.” Apparently it was a ‘joke’ and he hadn’t actually hit a cyclist but his employer, Bristol investment company Hargreaves Lansdown, didn’t see the funny side and sacked him. A spokesman said: “One of our employees has failed to conduct themselves to the standards we expect of our staff. We find these online comments totally unacceptable. Upon becoming aware of this issue we have terminated this person’s employment with immediate effect.”

It might seem harsh to the casual observer but if his employer’s name was on his Twitter page, I agree with the dismissal as the tweet was potentially damaging to their reputation which they are entitled to protect. There’s a good article in The Telegraph called ‘8 rules to ensure Twitter doesn’t get you sacked’. Some are obvious but the last one is important to remember – ‘Even if you are tweeting in a personal capacity… You may have only had 500 followers on Twitter, you may be jetting off on holiday and tweeting something completely unrelated to your job. But many employers take a dim view of their employees publishing offensive comments on the internet. Especially when their corporate reputation starts to be tarnished by association’.”

If your organisation needs to review its Social Media policies, please contact a member of the Employment team.

Sky News – Stockbroker sacked over Twitter cyclist ‘joke’

Sky News – Labour councillor suspended over Nazi parody

Telegraph – 8 Rules to ensure Twitter doesn’t get you sacked