Monday, November 26, 2012

Be Careful What You Tweet

In the preceding two weeks there has been a substantial uptick in the number of stories in the press about "tweets gone bad".  In addition, there have been a handful of similar reports about Facebook postings; with the range of what is happening going from authorities enforcing local laws, to excessively aggressive posting behavior by posters. Given the dynamics of this story, the best way to tell it is to provide the headlines:

November 25:
Libel Case That Snared BBC Widens to Twitter (New York Times)

November 21
China Arrests Blogger for Twitter Joke (The Guardian)
November 20: 
Is Hama's Twitter Account Illegal? (The Daily Beast)

November 19
India Holds Woman for Facebook Post on Thackeray (AFP)
Murdoch Apologizes to ADL for 'Jewish Owned Press' Tweet (Politico)

November 17
Twitter Suspends American Orthodox Jew for Tweeting Anti-Obama Cartoon About Israel (The Daily Caller)

November 15
In UK, Twitter, Facebook Rants Land Some in Jail (

November 13: 
BBC Chief to Staff: Stop Tweeting Our Troubles (Boston Herald)

November 9: 
Tattoo on Facebook Aimed at Cop Lands Gang Member in Jail (Star Tribune)

Comment: This summer, Greek track star Voula Papachristou (pictured above) was removed from her country's Olympic team for a racially intensive joke she published on her Twitter account. Yet, here we find in the articles above, the carnage recently experienced by a broad range of society that didn't learn from that event.  Social media truly allows entities and individuals to talk to the world. And what's technically possible with social media does not mean it is either socially or legally acceptable. Consequently, because of the absolute necessity for the Emergency Services Sector to effectively communicate with the public during a disaster, it's imperative that long before these powerful communications tools are used, policies and procedures are put in place.

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