Does Your Twitter Bio’s Disclaimer Actually Accomplish Anything?
I have seen it time and time again on Twitter in people’s bios. They are all attempting to cover their butts and say that the things they tweet are their own and personal and nothing to do with their work. I hate to say it and burst many people’s bubbles but you’re wasting a bunch of the 160 characters that Twitter gives you to write your bio.
The BBC published an article about a court ruling early in 2011 that a woman claiming she had a reasonable expectation of privacy and that her tweets were not for public consumption (except those who followed her) was wrong.
I have asked people who are labor lawyers (in Canada) if such a disclaimer would actually protect someone if they said something objectionable on Twitter and the consensus has been a resounding no. I am not a lawyer and as far as I know this exact case has never been adjudicated in Canada but I have been told such a disclaimer would be completely useless. As long as you are employed somewhere you are going to be affiliated with your employer. Your views, no matter how personal you think they are, when you express them in public they become public and a part of your online identity. If that identity includes any link to your employer – or if your employer knows about your Twitter account – then I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it won’t matter when your boss calls you into their office if you have that disclaimer up. It won’t make it any harder for them to fire you. It is about as legally effective as the coat check sign which insists they aren’t responsible for your items when you leave them with the coat check – they are and you are. I have yet to hear of a case where someone wrote something objectionable online and they were given a pass by their employer because they had that disclaimer up.
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