Social Media Lasts Forever

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A Frenship Independent School Association teacher is under scrutiny after posting a controversial Facebook post. Last week, Karen Fitzgibbons, a fourth grade teacher at Bennett Elementary School, took to Facebook to voice her opinion about a McKinney, Texas police officer incident.

According to the Dallas Morning News, a suburban Dallas police officer was forced to resign after a video showed him pushing a 14-year-old girl in a swimsuit to the ground outside a pool and pointing his gun at other teens. The incident spiraled into a national headline story. Read more about the story here.IDS teacher fb post

In response to the incident, Fitzgibbons wrote:

“This makes me ANGRY! This officer should not have had to resign. I’m going to just go ahead and say it … the blacks are the ones causing the problems and this ‘racial tension.’ I guess that’s what happens when you flunk out of school and have no education. I’m sure their parents are just as guilty for not knowing what their kids were doing; or knew it and didn’t care. I’m almost to the point of wanting them all segregated on one side of town so they can hurt each other and leave the innocent people alone. Maybe the 50s and 60s were really on to something. Now, let the bashing of my true and honest opinion begin….GO! #imnotracist #imsickofthemcausingtrouble #itwasatagedcommunity,” the Facebook post stated.

Fitzgibbons defended herself by saying “it was not an educational post; it was a personal experience post,” and added she had personal ties to the McKinney incident.

Although she claimed her statement was not directed at any one person or group, she quickly removed the post and issued an apology. One problem: what you post on social media lives forever. Regardless of the amount of time the post was public, people took notice and screenshots were taken (see image).

Frenship ISD director of public relations and information, Andy Penney, said in an email that all employees are “subject to local policies defining employee standards of conduct and electronic media practices.”

The school district policy states that employees will be held at the same professional standards for online media use as any other public conduct. “If an employee’s use of electronic media interferes with the employee’s ability to effectively perform his or her job duties, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment,” according to the policy.

Penney added, “Matters such as this are taken very seriously regarding our employees’ social media use. That’s the whole reason we have policies and procedures in place.”

Even though the post was deleted and Fitzgibbons made an apology, the teacher was ultimately fired.

Train Your Employees

I cannot repeat this enough: what you post on social media lasts forever. Screenshots can and will be taken when a controversial post is online – especially high-profile personalities and those in positions of public trust.

While you cannot guarantee an employee, no matter how well trained, will never damage themselves and your brand, training employees on acceptable use of social media makes good, risk mitigation sense. Ingrain into your employees what is deemed acceptable and what is not when relating to public, private, personal and company accounts.

If you do not have a social media policy, you need to create one for your company, yesterday. Every new employee must be trained in this area. Company standards and expectations are outlined when employees are trained, why not include social media to that?

Creating a social media plan can seem daunting. Updating a plan can be time-consuming. Don’t know where to start? Contact us and we can assist.

Download: Monitoring Predictive Actionable Intelligence

Know What Your Employees Are Saying

It is no longer enough view social media as solely another marketing medium. Social media magnifies business impacts in disasters and crises.

The failure to monitor social media risk (this includes employee online activity) may mean the end of your business, reputation or brand. If an account is public: it can and must be monitored. 

The effort to manage a solid Social Media Risk Program can be time-consuming and challenging. As a result, a broad range of measurement and analytic tools have evolved to meet the needs of Social Media Risk Management. Firestorm expertise in this area provides an overview of current market trends, legal precedents, regulations, risks, liabilities, best practices and case studies examples.

  • What are the risks of social media?
  • Why monitor social media risk?
  • What is social media risk monitoring?
  • How do you monitor the social media risk?
  • Why is it more than just Google®?
  • How do you mitigate social media risk?
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