Turns out it's not just news organizations that are grappling with proper Twitter etiquette for their employees. The U.S. Secret Service has also hit a social media snag, via an all-too-candid tweet on Fox News that forced the agency to issue a rare official apology. And to compound the Secret Service's very bad week on social media, it's also won plenty of adverse coverage for pulling a 13-year-old boy out of school to interrogate him over a Facebook post, without his mother on hand to safeguard his interests..
The government security body issued an apology Wednesday after one of its employees seemed to blast Fox News on the agency's official Twitter account, which was registered with the micro-blogging service on May 9.
The offending message (seen at right) was promptly deleted from the account, but not before being re-tweeted. It said: "Had to monitor Fox for a story. Can't. Deal. With. The. Blathering."
Here's what happened: "An employee with access to the Secret Service's Twitter account, who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account, posted an unapproved and inappropriate tweet," read the agency's official statement of apology. "We apologize for this mistake, and the user no longer has access to our official account. Policies and practices which would have prevented this were not followed and will be reinforced for all account users."
As Fox News noted in its own coverage of the incident, the network had earlier been covering a story about another apparent Secret Service social networking-related gaffe: Its visit to a 13-year-old Tacoma, Wash., resident at his school, where agents interrogated the boy without his mother present. His infraction? Warning on Facebook that the president should be vigilant against possible terrorist attacks in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death.
Timi Robertson, the boy's mother, told local Fox affiliate Q13 that she "just about lost it," when a school security guard called her to inform her that her son was being interrogated. "My 13-year-old son is supposed to be safe and secure in his classroom, and he's being interrogated without my knowledge or consent privately."
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