White House Cans Security Official Over Anonymous Twitter Account

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    “Anonymous” Twitter Accounts are not so anonymous anymore

    Think using that “anonymous” social media account to trash your job, boss, and coworkers isn’t putting your livelihood at risk? You might want to consider again after hearing this story, from a USA Today article by David Jackson:

    President Obama’s staff has unmasked and fired a national security staffer who tweeted critical comments under a pseudonym.

    Jofi Joseph, who was the White House’s director of nonproliferation, prolifically tweeted under the handle @natsecwonk. He once wrote: “I’m a fan of Obama, but his continuing reliance and dependence upon a vacuous cipher like Valerie Jarrett concerns me.”

    Foreign Policy reports that Joseph “is under investigation by the Justice Department for his alleged social media activities — both as @NatSecWonk and also possibly as @DCHobbyist, a Twitter account devoted largely to the exploits of North American escorts.”

    Other Obama staff members and officials — including Secretary of State John Kerry and former National Security adviser Tom Donilon — have also been targeted by @natsecwonk, which was shut down last week.

    The secret Twitter feed also raised questions about the administration’s handling of the 2012 attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya.

    Obviously, the White House has significant resources at its disposal for tracking down rogue employees, but there are plenty of ‘net experts for hire out there who could do the same for an organization that felt sufficiently threatened or damaged by a social media account that appears to be operated by an insider.

    If you’re the organization being targeted, what crisis management steps should you take? First and foremost you need a strong social media policy in place that details precisely what the consequences will be for any employee caught trashing you on the ‘net. Not only this but employees must be made aware of the policy through explanation and training. After that, a simple Google search, or a recommendation from a trusted computer tech, should be able to lead you to an online forensics expert who can ferret out the thorn in your side.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also the editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]