Twitter disclaimers are not magical mithral chainmail for your tweets. Even with such disclaimers, you can still get fired for "your own" salacious opinions in tweet form.
NYU professor Geoffrey Miller almost learned this the hard way after tweeting that "obese PhD applicants" wouldn't finish their dissertations if they lacked the "willpower to stop eating carbs," reports Forbes.
Although Miller did some quick damage control and saved his job, we aren't all college professors. Many employees are putting themselves at risk under the false protection of their Twitter disclaimer.
Common Twitter Disclaimers
As Twitter is used more and more frequently by news agencies, corporations and even celebrities, many have adopted disclaimers like:
- "My views/opinions are my own,"
- "Retweets (RT) are not endorsements,"
- "My tweets are mine," or
- "All my opinions belong to me."
Regardless of how strongly worded those disclaimers are, they have no legal effect, a technology lawyer told Forbes, and they won't stop your boss from canning you if your post "reflects badly" on your employer.
Why Disclaimers in General?
The practice of using Twitter disclaimers may have sprung up after the policy of tacking on boilerplate disclaimers to email. While such disclaimers may serve to differentiate an employee's tweets from the official views of his employer, it does nothing to protect the employee from liability or job loss.
This is especially true if you're tweeting about your company or coworkers, who could consider your nastygrams on Twitter as perfect cause to kick you to the curb (with no unemployment insurance).
Mind Your Tweets
Instead of pretending that your Twitter disclaimer is some sort of industry-accepted content shield, start paying some mind to what you tweet.
Like with any social media, if you like keeping your job, avoid posting anything inappropriate, such as:
- Pictures of you naked and/or drunk,
- Confidential information,
- Comments about coworkers or your employer, and
- Insults or complaints about clients.
If your workplace has a social media policy that requires a disclaimer, by all means include it. But don't confuse this with a free pass to call your boss unflattering names.
- Geoffrey Miller, Visiting NYU Professor, Slammed For Fat-Shaming Obese PhD Applicants (The Huffington Post)
- Rhonda Lee, TV Anchor, Fired Over Facebook Reply (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Social Media Policies: 5 Common Mistakes (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Browse Employment Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)