Inappropriate Tweeting From Public Officials Has Hit Critical Mass

I’m not sure what’s in the water this week, but there have been a rash of high-profile Twitter screw ups lately.

Just hours ago we reported that the Palestinian envoy to Canada was fired for retweeting an offensive video, and now it looks like two others are under the gun for their tweeting habits: a French minister for a misdirected sexy DM and a LA cop for an overly-graphic tweeted pic. What gives?

Currently, France’s Industry Minister (@Eric_Besson) is in hot water for tweeting what I assume was a private Direct Message meant for his wife to his 14,000+ followers.

As France 24 reports, Minister Eric Besson tweeted the following earlier on Wednesday:

“When I get home I’m going to bed, exhausted. With you?”

Sure, it’s relatively tame, but the connotations are there, and he has since been facing the heat. His followers quickly retweeted the gaffe before he could delete it, and have been poking fun at the Minister all day, laughing at his “DM fail” and inability to keep it rated PG on Twitter.

And then there’s the more serious story of the LA murder cop, (@LAMurderCop) Sal LaBarbera. The Washington Post reports that LaBarbera tweeted a picture of a recently murdered gang member, under a bloody white sheet lying on the sidewalk. The image, which you can see on the Washington Post article, is pretty gruesome, and LaBarbera has been flamed for it by several prominent LA blogs and Twitter users.

So what gives? Three major stories of Twitter over-sharing in just about 24 hours. And no doubt there were even more than flew just under my radar.

Maybe this is a sign that Twitter has hit critical mass. High profile individuals like government officials and police officers can no longer tweet to just a handful of followers – what they tweet is quickly picked up by the mainstream media (especially if it is less than appropriate).

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that public institutions need to take a page out of the private sector’s book and start implementing serious social media policies. If there were guidelines in place for these officials to follow, it would reduce the number of distasteful incidents.

(Image courtesy of konstantynov via Shutterstock)