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Who owns your social profile?

As I mentioned in 10 tips for your corporate social media policy, companies should develop a rule book for how their staff use social media. The question of account ownership was raised this week when it was reported that a BBC journalist took her 60,000 Twitter followers with her when she went to rival company ITV.

Laura Kuenssberg built up her 60,000 followers while working as a political correspondent at the Beeb, and she tweeted using the account @BBCLauraK. When she switched over to the other side, she changed the Twitter account to @ITVLauraK. This prompted several news outlets to report that the BBC had lost 60,000 followers, and it sparked debate about who should own the account.

Arguably, it was Laura who created and grew the account and the followers were following her, not the BBC, but not all agreed with this hypothesis. Blogger Tom Callow said, “Many people, myself included, wanted to follow the updates of the BBC’s Chief Political Correspondent (@BBCLauraK). We might be less interested in updates from the ITV’s Business Editor (@ITVLauraK). When she had earlier tweeted the details of a new separate ITV account to her then 59,000 followers, only around 1,000 of them started following the new account, which seems to support this assumption.”


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