Published On: Tue, Mar 19th, 2013

Who really owns your personal and work social networking account?

In 2010 Noah Kravitz working for a mobile phone news and reviews website PhoneDog built up a following of more than 17,000 followers using his @PhoneDog_Noah twitter account.

It was all good until the day Kravitz resigned to work for a competitor. Kravitz took his followers with him changing the twitter account to @noahkravitz. That’s when PhoneDog which wasn’t very happy filed a lawsuit against him.

PhoneDog’s lawsuit alleged misappropriation of trade secrets, arguing that the passwords for the Twitter account constituted confidential information that allowed Kravits’s new employer to unfairly compete against PhoneDog.

The case running between 2011 and 2012 in a California federal court settled under undisclosed terms. Kravitz got to keep the account, and now has more than 23,000 followers. Similar cases have been filled with some still ongoing.

More companies are discovering this to be a legal grey area especially when you considering Social media law still in its infancy stage.

Employers should introduce or revise work place policies and employee agreements related to social media and employee’s should give much more thought to post-employment owner-ship of for example Twitter followers when using these social media accounts for both personal and work.

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