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U.S. Secret Service Becomes Latest Victim of a 'Wrong Pipe' Tweet

As I noted last month, law firms getting more active on Twitter need to avoid three main types of "self-destructive" tweets. First on the list was the increasingly common "wrong pipe" tweet, which occurs when the person responsible for tweeting for a company or law firm accidentally tweets from the company's account rather than from his or her individual Twitter account. As discussed in last month's post, the American Red Cross and Chrysler have already learned about "wrong pipe" tweets the hard way.

The latest victim of a "wrong pipe" tweet is an unlikely one: The U.S. Secret Service, which launched its Twitter account less than two weeks ago, on May 9, 2011. Ten days later, an unusual tweet popped up on the Secret Service's account:



The "FOX News is blathering" tweet was almost immediately deleted, and was followed by a sheepish statement by the Secret Service explaining what had happened on its new Twitter account:

An employee with access to the Secret Service's Twitter account, who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account, posted an unapproved and inappropriate tweet. The tweet contained no vulgarity, security or pertinent agency information. The tweet did not reflect the views of the U.S. Secret Service and it was immediately removed.

We apologize for this mistake, and the user no longer has access to our official account.  Policies and practices which would have prevented this were not followed and will be reinforced for all account users. We will ensure existing policies are strictly adhered to in order to prevent this mistake from being repeated, and we are conducting appropriate internal follow-up.

Moral of the story for law firms: If it happened to the U.S. Secret Service, it can surely happen to you. Let's be careful out there!


Posted by Bruce Carton on May 20, 2011 at 04:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


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