After reporter Barrett Tryon posted a link to an article on his personal Facebook Timeline, his boss told him it violated the company's social media policy.
Tryon refused to remove it, sparking a whole conversation about the legality of social media policies -- and landing himself on administrative leave.
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The article he linked to was an LA Times report about Freedom Communications, Inc.'s sale of seven newspapers -- including the Colorado Springs Gazette, the newspaper that employs him -- to a Boston investment group.
Tryon posted the link with a pull quote that suggested his paper would be spun off by the end of the summer.
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About three hours later, his boss emailed him to tell him the post violated the company's social media policy. In particular, she argued that the article "does not meet our standards of factual information."
In another email, she included this passage from the policy:
"Freedom Communications, Inc.’s Associate Handbook/Confidentiality and Proprietary Rights policy prohibits you from posting disparaging or defamatory ... statements about the company or its business interests, but you should also avoid social media communications that might be misconstrued in a way that could damage the company’s goodwill and business reputation, even indirectly."
After Tryon tipped off another local paper, the incident quickly became news across the web. He says the response has been overwhelmingly supportive.
Poynter, for instance, used the case to highlight a section of the National Labor Relations Act that makes it unlawful to prevent employees from complaining about work. About 60 people have signed an online petition asking the Gazette to revise its social media policy.
Tryon will likely benefit from the publicity -- he says he's already been contacted about new jobs.
"I think it proves my point," Tryon tells Mashable. "I’m not crazy for saying this is crazy."
This story originally published on Mashable here.
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