What not to do: Facebook lessons from a political PR pro

by Caitlin Nobes20 Jul 2012

When commenting on popular internet content sharing site Buzzfeed, users need either an account with the site, or a Facebook account – both of which show the user’s full name and any description next to any comments made.

It’s the kind of thing that should send up red flags if you’re planning to say something rude or controversial, and especially if you work as a communication aide to a US congressman.

When Alex Laska, a communications aide and staff assistant to Democratic Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes, commented that he hoped Buzzfeed editor Katie Notopoulos would commit suicide, he probably didn’t think it would be linked back to his employer – except his job title was next to his name.

The comment, on a post “84 Things That Aren’t On An Everything Bagel”, was trending on social media within hours and political news site Politicker reported that when contacted, Laska claimed ignorance of the site and asked to be sent a link. By late in the afternoon the reference to his job had been removed from Facebook – but not before a screenshot of the original post had been taken.

Laska’s fate at his job is unclear at this stage. For most companies this could be worthy of a warning, at most, but an image-conscious politician may decide that sometimes there is such a thing as bad publicity.


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