Should You Be Held Accountable for What You Publish Online?

Some local Seattle radio station Tweeted that noise up there and continued on bantering with the Twitterverse.

People are free to say and think what they want, but I was baffled by the person Tweeting on behalf of 107.7. Why did this individual think it was ok to express personal opinions on a brand account??? More importantly, how would I handle this situation if I were management? Needless to say, I was excited to see how 107.7 was going to handle this mess.

Well. I woke up and LOLd. I could not BELIEVE their explanation.

Naturally, I called them out:

Ok, so 107.7 may have been hacked. If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize, but right now? I call BS and I’m sticking to that.

Anyway, so a friend of mine then said: “@Mona Sometimes I wish there wasn’t a delete feature on Twitter.” and you know what? I completely agree. People need to be held accountable for what they say online. Remember the Yelper who got sued for writing a negative review?

Take it a step further and I think business accounts (especially media) should not be allowed to delete Tweets. Retract, redact, edit, or revise, but deleting? No. A business, especially media outlets, need to be accountable for what they publish. Deleting irresponsible Tweets is just plain wrong.

What do you think? Should you be held accountable for waht you publish online? Should businesses? Do you think Twitter should make all biz accounts, Verified Accounts, and disable deleting?

Kristy has a well written detailed piece about the 107.7 incident here.
Thank you, Kristin Marshall for the screenshots!
Seattle Weekly is on the 107.7 story too.
Meanwhile, over on FriendFeed, the discussion turned into a Yelp one haha. I love the Internet!


18 thoughts on “Should You Be Held Accountable for What You Publish Online?

  1. You should most definitely be held accountable for what you say/publish online. Part of the reason why I like that Google caches and WayBackMachine ( ) caches. As for disabling deleting on Verified accounts, not so much since it seems that the majority of verified accounts aren’t really brands but celebrities. I don’t care so much about that stuff. There should be a business account type for twitter though that differs from a personal account and perhaps even a badge like the verified one that shows it’s a brand or business account.

    As for the hacking part. If anything, I think they need to publish proof that hacking did occur and that someone gained access to their account without permission to publish those tweets. Otherwise, I wouldn’t really take their word on hacking occurring. Sooner or later, people are going to just all do the same exact thing and delete personal tweets saying they were hacked as well.

    1. The hacking thing lol. That’s their story and they’re STILL sticking to it! The program director just emailed Seattle Weekly and confirmed. Do hackers use Tweetie? LOL

      The only thing I could think of was the Verified Account check mark thingy, but you are right – it should be a badge or some indicator they are different from a personal account. But either which way, I really don’t think biz accounts should be able to delete Tweets.

      Thanks for your comment, John! :)

  2. I don’t actually agree that you shouldn’t be able to delete items from your stream. There are times when it’s necessary – and not just from a “cya” perspective at all. BUT I do believe that individuals can and will continue to hold businesses accountable for what they say. This is a great example. They can delete them, but guess what – we were (and by we I mean Kristen) all over it grabbing screen shots. Now we’re blogging about it holding their feet to the fire. They can delete the tweets but they can’t delete our posts. You can’t undo the damage, but they can attempt at repairing it.

  3. Perhaps without some irony, what they are describing is pretty much already standard practice. Just ask anyone of color who has visited the United States if you don’t believe me.

    1. Holy moly, it’s Duncan Riley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

      Well, I don’t really care what that person behind that Twitter account says or thinks. My problem is they are using their work Twitter to express personal opinions. KEEP THAT NOISE ON YOUR BLOG! …or in this case, your own Twitter account. ;)

  4. You should be held accountable online to the same extent you would be held accountable in any other media or in real life, face to face. Thankfully, there are such things as screen shots and a long-tail on written on-line communication, so it is actually easier to hold someone accountable on-line. Your blog post is hard evidence of that.

    Go Mona!


  5. You are accountable for what you express, but what does accountable mean in this scenario? Twitter is largely about off the cuff thinking, its value is in its not completely refined, not completely thought through messages. And in nearly all cases the US allows people to think and say whatever they please (a good idea on all counts, but will occasionally cause you to hear things you don’t agree with or that are measurably wrong).

    For some people not refining the message means you are going to hear some raw, perhaps misguided in popular opinion, stuff. Wouldn’t want to give that up, lest Twitter become some boring personal PR vehicle.

    The fact that they tweeted “Cee ya until I get my own show” at the end almost makes it look like it was hacked into.

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