Think before you tweet


The recent dismissal of Vivienne Catherine Basson by telecommunications firm Ericsson over a racist rant on social media raises important questions on the limits of private and personal privileges on the social media.

(READ MORE: Social media in business can be effective but dangerous

“Every individual is a brand, everything you do such as tweeting, facebooking for work or personal capacity affects your overall brand. We are at a point where we don’t know where our personal lives start and ends and where our social lives begin,” Ryan Hogarth, a speaker on change and social business told CNBC Africa.


“From a legal perspective we have seen a number of cases like the former Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela who lost his job after making distasteful statements on twitter about Jub-Jub when he was convicted and of course this lost him his job,” Okyerebea Ampofu-Anti, senior associate said.

Social media participation has a bearing on one’s employability.

Meanwhilea digital marketing special, Daniela Basceli  warned, “With regards to prospective employment, [certain] companies hire firms that specialise in social media candidates profiling and what one does on social media has an impact on prospective business opportunities”.

“Most companies are not educating their staff enough about the repercussions, what can go wrong as well as best practices on social media and how that can affect their companies directly,” she added.

Ampofu-Anti urged, “We encourage our clients to have social media policy and the policy should be set out clearly to the staff and should one desire to use social media a disclaimer should be included”.

“There is no comprehensive set of legal rules that govern social media. The courts have been trying to extend legal rules that came from 16th century Dutch situation and have been adopted into South Africa. The courts have been struggling to do that”.

Social media though a positive development has been violating some existing legal regimes like foreshadowing that bars discussion of issues before the courts in public. An immediate example is the Oscar Pistorius trial.