Company sues ex-employee for his Twitter followers
A Twitter user is being sued for £217,000 by his former employer for taking his online followers with him when he switched jobs. Noah Kravitz, a writer from Oakland, California, amassed 17,000 followers on the social networking site when he worked for PhoneDog, a website providing news and reviews about mobile phones.
He posted Twitter messages under the name @Phonedog_Noah, but in October 2010 he left the company, renamed his account @noahkravitz and took his following with him.
PhoneDog has launched legal proceedings seeking damages of $2.50 a month per follower for eight months, for a total of $340,000. The company is arguing that Kravitz’s list of followers constitutes a customer database and the valuation is an estimate of how much each follower is worth to the company.
The case raises questions about the value of Twitter to companies that are increasingly using the website to communicate with customers and promote their products. Legal observers believe that if damages are awarded against Kravitz, it could set a precedent for assigning a commercial value to Twitter followers acquired in a business context. (via The Guardian)