Is it necessary to have a “retweets are not endorsements” disclaimer in your Twitter profile?
What about adding “follows are not endorsements” in your Twitter bio?
How about something like “Views are my own” or “Opinions are my own?”
Should you have a disclaimer to offer you some sort of protection from your actions on Twitter?
Answer: No, not really.
Common sense should dictate that just because you retweet something or follow someone that it doesn’t mean you endorse them.
That would be like saying that I endorse the views expressed on Fox News because I randomly watched that channel one day.
(And before anyone gets political on me, the same goes for MSNBC or CNN, okay?)
My point is that it should not matter that you follow someone on Twitter.
Or that you retweeted some asinine comment made by a celebrity.
For example, I have followed Charlie Sheen because he is a train wreck – not because I believe he will be the next poet laureate.
Should that mean that I endorse him? Absolutely not.
“Common sense is not so common”
– Voltaire (Dictionnaire Philosophique)
There will always be a tendency for people to jump to conclusions about the things you say and do online.
Just because people should understand that you don’t endorse a particular thing just because you follow or retweet it, doesn’t mean they will.
A lot of social media users are just skimming the content, particularly on Twitter. You can’t always count on them to read and understand your context.
People might not stop to think that you retweeted something to your followers that you found to be god-awful, even if you add a comment to the RT.
They might take a look at your follower list and make assumptions about you based on who you follow, even in the case where you’re following someone you don’t agree with just to keep tabs on what they say.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone. Nor should you try.
If you think that there is a chance that your activity on Twitter could offend someone, however, don’t rely on a disclaimer in your profile to cover your bases.
A “Retweets are not Endorsements” disclaimer won’t save you
Many believe that a quickly placed “views and opinions are my own” or similar disclaimer in their Twitter profile will cover them legally and with their employer.
And they would be wrong.
There are many legal precedents, but to save you the time (and the links) let me just sum it up in layman’s terms.
If someone can make a case that something you said or did online was harmful to them, and they can prove damages, you will be held liable.
Even if someone can’t prove damages, they can still waste your time in a court of law.
Likewise, your employer could fire you if they can prove that what you retweeted hurt their company image.
Many companies would make a case that because you work for them you’re a representative of their brand.
And if you’re the self-employed type you may not be safe either. Your clients could fire you just as easily.
So do you need a disclaimer in your social media profile?
Spend your time and energy trying not to do things that could make you think you need one.
Disclaimers are pretty much useless in your Twitter profile.
Your 140 characters is better spent on more useful info.
Do you use a disclaimer in your Twitter bio?
Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!