This is the latest in a series of articles by The Poynter Institute and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on legal issues affecting journalists. Poynter’s Ellyn Angelotti is an attorney and teaches social media issues.
Social media regularly blurs lines when it comes to journalists’ personal and professional lives. We often post pictures of our pets and children alongside posts related to our work. One unintended consequence is this can create ambiguity about who ultimately owns your Twitter account.
Organizations and brands seek employees who can effectively build an audience using social media. However, once an employee builds a healthy community of followers and then leaves the organization, who do the followers belong to?
Some instances are clearer than others.
Journalists who create an account associated with a beat and then exit the organization often leave their account and start a new one.
However, when Jim Roberts, who was the assistant managing editor of The New York Times at the time, accepted a buyout last year, he took his 75,000 followers with him. Read more