As the professional use of social media continues to proliferate, it was only a matter of time before this question reached the courts: who owns an employee’s Twitter followers amassed on an account that was created as part of the employee’s job function? That is the exact question at issue in PhoneDog v. Kravitz, and its holding may have profound implications on the use of social media in the workplace.
PhoneDog, LLC hired Noah Kravitz as a product reviewer and video blogger in April 2006. Kravitz’s job was to create written and video content for dissemination to PhoneDog users through Twitter and other media formats. Kravitz was given use of a Twitter account with the handle @PhoneDog_Noah to promote PhoneDog’s services. Following his resignation in October 2010, despite the company’s request that he relinquish use of the account, Kravitz changed the Twitter handle to @noahkravitz and continued using the account, retaining the 17,000 followers he had amassed while working for the company.
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