September 21, 2011 11:30 AM EDT
A Microsoft employee tweet has led to that person’s apparent firing for violating social-media policy at the company. Official word is that he stepped down after being informed that he would be let go.
On September 7th, Joe Marini, who worked on the Windows phone team, tweeted,
“I just got a chance to try out one of the slickest looking #Nokia phones I have ever seen. Soon, you will too!” He added a hashtag which read, #WP7. He later wrote other tweets about the phone, including one that noted that the camera was good and one saying that he would rate it an “8.”
The problem with this and the other complimentary tweets was that the first Nokia Windows phone is not due until Fall and all company information about it was confidential at the time of the message.
This is just another example of people not using their heads when it comes to social media. When you post something anywhere online, it is out there for the world to see, including your bosses. Be smart. If something is supposed to be confidential, don’t post it on Facebook or Twitter or at any other socialnetworking site.
The article which is the source of this news at CNET compares this incident with the case of five workers who lost their jobs because they complained on Facebook about their working conditions. The National Labor Board stepped in, and they got their jobs back. But that is a totally different situation. While it is certainly not a good idea to complain about your job or your boss and name where you work or who your boss is online, that is not the same as leaking information ahead of time. Any company has a right to protect confidentiality, and with a clearly spelled-out policy about social media usage, which any large company should have at this time, any employee who leaks information online is certainly liable to be fired.