When everyone is a “publisher” and says nice things about you, social media is wonderful, right?Â But companies are less impressed when the message is negative and the tone bitter.
This is the situation UK-based tour operating giant Thomas Cook has found itself in after an anonymous TwitterÂ user created an account deliberately to hurl so-called “abuse” at the company and employees.
Such was the level of criticism against Thomas Cook that lawyers applied for and were granted an injunction last week by the High Court in London to request Twitter to expose the creator of the account (@TCXrated).
Although the account has since been deleted, in a rare move the court order could be enforced by Twitter to establish and reveal the identity of the person (or persons) behind the attacks.
Thomas Cook suspects the account belonged to a employee (and obviously in breach of its employment contract), but what angered it so much about the messages?
The account, according to the Telegraph,Â tweeted a myriad of snarky commentsÂ about Thomas Cook and its employees, including screengrabs of its share price, internal memos and doctored pictures of staff supposedly pushing a plane on a runway with the title “Thomas Cook reveals fuel shortage contingency plan”.
The case sheds some further light on the steps companies will now go to in order to stop public criticism, but do the examples highlighted by Telegraph really constitute abuse?
Yes, internal memos are, well, confidential although it is unclear as to what information was disclosed and how many “followers” the account had actually managed to attract.
So rather than simply ignoring the account, some might argue that by taking such extreme measures to try and force the identity of the tweeter has turned attention once again on the operator and its financial performance, just at the point where its new CEO was perhaps hoping to start afresh.