The Economist recently published an article, Lose Face: A tale of two airlines and their Facebook fiascos, detailing the recent firings of staff members over disparaging remarks left about customers and the airline on Facebook.
Virgin Airlines was the first to discover 13 employees making comments. According to The Economist, "crew members joked that some Virgin planes were infested with cockroaches and described customers as 'chavs', a disparaging British term for people with flashy bad taste."
Shortly after, British Airways followed suit and "began investigating the behaviour of several employees who had described some passengers as 'smelly' and 'annoying' in Facebook postings."
This is one of many examples of how what one says in what could be considered a private or invite only forum by a user could affect current and future opportunities. Anything posted online is a digital footprint that could follow you for a very long time. A good rule of thumb is to post what you would feel comfortable with others seeing - like your boss, future employer, grandmother or children. If you have to really think if it's appropriate, it's probably a good idea to not go there.
On the other hand, companies need to take responsibility for being very clear with their employees about the online policies towards posting information associated with the company. Companies should trust employees to use these tools appropriately, but they need to be diligent about monitoring what's being said out there on the social web and perhaps join the conversation when appropriate.
What's your take?
- Virgin cabin crew sacked over Facebook comments
- British Airways' Staffers Ridicule Customers
- Liberate Media - Virgin Atlantic staff criticism: opportunity or threat?