HMV staff hijack Twitter feed, live-tweet mass layoffs

Myriam Robin /

Businesses have been warned yet again to keep a closer eye on how they manage their social media accounts, after a disgruntled employee of collapsed music retail chain HMV hijacked the company’s Twitter account and started live-tweeting about mass layoffs.

The incident follows a troublesome month for the music retailer – it announced last month the company would be placed in administration.

James Griffin, the head of social reputation management group SR7, said the incident was yet another reminder that businesses need to keep their social media programs under control.

“Obviously the preventative steps still apply, so you have to make sure you have a policy in the beginning, clearly outlining where ownership of the accounts lie.”

“This has been a pretty long-standing issue, and it’s a question that has plagued a lot of organisations.”

The employee who hijacked the account let its 60,000 followers know of what was happening, saying: “we’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!!”

“There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand,” it said, followed by: “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?'”

A statement from Deloitte, the administrator, confirmed 150 layoffs had taken place.

Griffin says the incident shows why a clear policy needs to be in place outlining who has access to the social media accounts, and for what purpose.

“You need to make sure the passwords for various social media accounts don’t just exist with one person, so you can go and change the password, or disable the account.”

“This whole incident also raises the issue of whether it’s better to do your social media in-house or to outsource – there are a lot of things to consider.”

Griffin says the hijacking is a good reminder for small businesses about managing social media. 

“It’s like giving someone access to a billboard – you’re allowing them to put up whatever they want.”

This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

Myriam Robin

Myriam Robin is a reporter for SmartCompany and its sister site LeadingCompany. She has degrees in economics, international studies and journalism. She likes writing about businesses taking risks and doing new things.

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