Independent Thinking Blog

Are You Responsible for What Someone Else Tweets About You?


Geoff Livingston raised an interesting question with this tweet. When are you responsible for what someone else says on Twitter (or Facebook, or anywhere else publicly accessible)?

Clearly, companies are responsible for what their employees say on their behalf. And each of us has to own what we say online–and the perceptions we leave behind and the reputation we create.

But can you really blame me if my brother speaks out of turn?

Yes, it can be embarrassing. Yes, it might be helpful if he doesn’t tweet or otherwise talk publicly about your job. Yes, it would be good if he’d just shut up. But how is this Vick’s fault?

Are we responsible for what our siblings say online? 

Here’s what I replied to Livingston:

I don’t think it’s a screw-up. I can see why his bro (as bro & fan) would be a little concerned. Vick’s getting crushed.


Embarrassing for Vick, to be sure, but at end of day, don’t think it’s fair to hold people responsible for what siblings say/do.

What if it were a friend instead of a sibling? What do you think? Where do you draw the line?

Some background for my non-U.S.-football-fan readers: Quarterback Michael Vick has been  knocked down more than any other quarterback this season because the linemen who are supposed to protect him cannot. His family is worried about him, and they are right. On Sunday, three days after this story broke, Vick was hit again–and this time left the game with a concussion.

Photo by davetoaster (Flickr).

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