What’s Your Responsibility with a Retweet?

More and more, we’re hearing stories that go “so and so retweeted that person who is a white supremacist/neofeminist/Nickelback fan.“. It always leads me to wonder – what is a brand’s responsibility when it comes to retweets?

The truth is, Twitter moves fast. People and brands often see a tweet they agree with, retweet it and move on without a thought. But no one wants their reputation or brand associated with an account that could tarnish their image. So what is your responsibility to check before you retweet?

Responsibility with a Retweet

Your Responsibility before Retweeting

  1. Links There are a few things that you need to check when retweeting an account. First, check that any links in the tweet itself work and that they go to a site or page that matches the tweet. Sometimes, links are dead or the brand you’re retweeting has posted a link to the wrong article. Next, it’s worth while to look at the link to the site of the brand you’re retweeting. If it’s www.insertsomethingawful.com, you may not want to retweet them.
  2. Twitter handle If their twitter handle is something like @jerkymcjerkface you might not want to retweet them. There are a lot of people and brands out there with very offensive Twitter handles and they often serve as a big red flag.
  3. Bios Bios are really easy to check since they’re only 160 characters long. It’s worthwhile to see whether their bio openly states they support or believe something controversial that could make your original tweet get taken out of context.
  4. Imagery Swastika as their profile image? Probably best not to retweet them. Same for cover images. You’d think there wouldn’t be many accounts with offensive images but you’d be wrong.
  5. Pinned tweet The Pinned tweet is something the brand or person thinks is core to their message. If it’s kind of offensive, you probably don’t want to retweet the account.
  6. Past tweet history If the above items seem fine, it’s probably not necessary to sift through their tweet history. Let’s face it: people tweet a lot.

While it’s probably unreasonable to think that any person can review every account they retweet in its entirety, it’s worth your time to do some basic scans before you retweet. Otherwise you could find yourself associated with some unsavory characters. Like @jerkymcjerkface.


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