10 tweets that could get you fired

Pin It

As long as people both have jobs and Twitter accounts, we will have something to blog about. That’s because, no matter how many ill-fated tweeters go before them, there are still people in the world that don’t seem to realize that Twitter is a public forum until their boss reads their “My boss is an idiot” post.

As an exercise in how to kill your career in 140 characters or less, we decided to search the words “job” and “boss” on Twitter, and see what came up. We didn’t have to look too hard to find these 10 tweets, all of which appeared in our first 50 search results, and all of which have pink-slip potential.


On the bright side, at least that last tweeter got cut off before he could really “elaborate,” should his business-challenged boss ever stumble upon the above tweet. On the not-so-bright-side, the fact that it was so easy for us to find all of these messages means that there are a whole lot of people out there risking their jobs on Twitter.

Just in case you’ve forgotten how perilous Twitter can be, here are five examples of tweets that got people canned.

1. Aflac: The ongoing disaster in Japan is no laughing matter … unless you’re Gilbert Gottfried. The comedian — who is also the voice behind a decade’s worth of Aflac commercials — thought the catastrophe would make good material for some new jokes, which he then told to his Twitter audience. (Example: “What do the Japanese have in common with @howardstern? They’re both radio active.”) Aflac, which does 75 percent of its business in Japan, was not impressed and Gottfried was fired.

2. CNN: In one of the more controversial and highly publicized Twitter firings, CNN senior editor Octavia Nasr was let go in July of 2010, after she tweeted her opinion on a controversial Muslim leader. Following the death of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Fadlallah — a Muslim cleric who was a known supporter of suicide bombings, but whom Nasr considered progressive for his stance on women’s rights — she tweeted “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Her message sent the media into an uproar, and CNN subsequently fired her on the grounds that her credibility had been compromised.

3. Cisco: In an incident now known simply as “Cisco fatty,” 22-year old Connor Riley tweeted the following after receiving a job offer from the IT company: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” A Cisco employee saw the Tweet and responded “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.” Needless to say, Riley did not end up working at the company.

4. Chrysler: On March 9, 28-year old Scott Bartosiewicz suffered every social media manager’s worst nightmare. He sent out a ranting Tweet while stuck in traffic, thinking it was coming from his personal account, when in fact, he sent it from the account of his client, Chrysler. Shortly after sending out the Tweet: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to F—-ing drive,” Bartosiewicz was fired from his job at New Media Strategies, the company Chrysler had hired to manage its Twitter account.

5. The State of Indiana: In February, Jeff Cox, an attorney for the state of Indiana was fired for suggesting via Twitter that police officers should “use live ammunition” to dismantle union protestors in Wisconsin. The tweet, directed at nonprofit news magazine Mother Jones, ignited a back-and-forth between Cox and Mother Jones reporter Adam Weinstein, in which Cox called the protestors “thugs” and “political enemies.” Upon learning that Cox was a public official, Weinstein published the details of his Twitter encounter with Cox in an article the following week. Cox was terminated from his position.

So, the moral of the story is, think before you tweet. If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it or if it might offend someone, you probably shouldn’t share it with the world.

  1. I have never understood the whole use of Twitter. I fail to see the attraction of telling the whole world every single bit of minutiae of your daily life. From what you eat for each meal to taking a walk to let your dog do his business on your neighbors yard.

  2. I think it’s pretty bad that people get fired over a single tweet. It’s crazy! Are people really that stuck up? Twitter is used to express feelings. It’s another social website that only uses Tweets for Status Update. People shouldn’t have to worry about what they want to tweet about. I sure as hell don’t.

  3. Yeah, it amazes me how easily offended people are these days and take everything personally like the world is going to end if someone expresses how they feel and it happens to offend someone.

    I mean if you can’t laugh at yourself, you are a sad person.

    Everyone really needs to just HTFU in my opinion.

    • Oh gosh! Oh no! Woe to the world, I have offended someone! Let them not be offended lest they might have hurt feelings and whine because they expect their needs are catered to, like the children they are!

      I’m offended that we should moderate our opinions should they offend someone.

  4. i am offended by how easily poeple can be fired from their jobs for having something every thinking individual has…..AN OPINION!!

    i hate the new aflac commercials(satirizing the 1920′s silent films), gilbert gotfried got royally screwed!!! girbert gotfried is a well known raunch comic from the 1980′s and his high pitch voice is a part of his act and is intended to annoy you!! aflac sucks!!! and the howard stern comparison joke is funny!!!

    i myself don’t have a twitter account and won’t
    because it is a character defamation weapon for hotheaded bosses and other vindictive types to inherit the power to ruin peoples lives.

    do employers/managers today actually believe they have the right to be their employee’s behavioral parents?!! what-a-load….

  5. I can relate to this I had a facebook account and made a comment that I regret saying cuz it almost cost me receiving my unemployment compensation. The person I worked with was trying to sabotage me but it didn’t work to her benefit like she thought it would so that was a lesson for me and I cancelled my facebook account right after my hearing with unemployment.

  6. I also learned who was my friends and who wasn’t. Don’t trust no one. Keep ur comments that u don’t want to embarrass u or incriminate u to yourself.

  7. what in the world happen to freedom of speech? everybody has a right to their opinion even if it offend someone, it maybe something that they need to hear.!!!!!!it might save their life.

  8. Pingback: Is everyone on twitter a #douchebag? « Post-modern Foot-prints

  9. @chris cox … I honestly believe that it has little to do with trying to control peoples opinions or be attitude police, but try and put yourself in the place of a business owner trying to keep their business afloat … would you really want negativity and Facebook or twitter tweets bad mouthing you, your business or employees? unneeded, distracting and very immature! Besides people are free to make choices every single day.. if you wake up and find you hate what you do.. move on to what you like… hey even better build your own business and maybe you will have a different attitude about it. hopefully you would get lucky enough to find employees who are not ungrateful! 

  10. Pingback: FireMe! Site Serves as a Reminder to Watch What You Say Online | Hyphenet IT Security Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>