Can you put a price on a tweet? What about a Facebook page? A pending lawsuit between a company and former employee may begin to answer these questions. Noah Kravitz of Oakland, Calif., left his job at Phonedog.com and took the company Twitter account with 17,000 followers along with him when he left. Though Phonedog.com granted Kravitz permission to take the Twitter account, the company had a change of heart and sued Kravitz $2.50 per follower over an eight-month period. All together, Phonedog.com was seeking damages of $340,000.
In a marketing and advertising world where social media is nearly as important as television commercials, there is a lot at stake if a company loses its social media outlet. The pending lawsuit between Kravitz and Phonedog.com also raises many questions of ownership, starting with social media channels owned by the company and expanding to those owned by its individual employees. Does a company have rights to an employee’s Facebook page?
As social media’s influence continues to grow, I’m certain we will see many similar lawsuits in the future. It’ll be interesting to see how the legal system will monetize the value of social media.