Twitter Turns 7 With Vengeance: Just Ask Politicos Who Tweeted Away Jobs

Friday, 22 Mar 2013 12:29 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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The Internet paused Thursday to celebrate Twitter's seventh birthday with a look back at the site's history and lessons learned.

That Twitter is a double-edged sword in matters good, bad, and inane is well known by now. Just ask all the people who got their comeuppances thanks to the micro-blogging site.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey started everything when he sent his first tweet on March 21, 2006. Now, with an estimated 200 million active users, Twitter has grown from just another social network to a behemoth virtual soapbox of ideas, news, and reactions.


But Twitter wasn’t any help to these folks in politics found by Buzzfeed who lost their jobs after online controversy tarnished their reputations:

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Former Democratic New York Congressman Anthony Weiner

In 2011, Weiner famously resigned after sending sexually suggestive photos of himself via his public Twitter account. He admitted in an emotional press conference that he sent sexual messages to six women. He said he intended to send the original picture privately through a direct message but accidentally sent it to all of his Twitter followers.

Phil Hardy, spokesman for Republican Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho

Hardy got the boot in February after mistakenly posting an awkward tweet on Labrador's Twitter account during the Super Bowl. "Me likey Broke Girls," the message read. It was posted shortly after a commercial for the CBS show "2 Broke Girls" aired, featuring actresses Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs dancing in risqué clothing on what appeared to be a stripper pole. Even though it was deleted after 14 seconds, Hardy was still fired.

A Senate staffer for Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine

In 2012, a tweet was posted to Collins's account badmouthing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The message read, in part, "Good ol' @SenSanders is always entertaining. Not a huge fan." It was deleted after 55 seconds but the staffer was identified and, ultimately, fired.

Legislative aides to Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen of Washington state

Three Larsen aides were fired in December 2011 for writing tweets that complained about their work, criticized the congressman, and boasted of on-the-job drinking. The messages were posted on their personal Twitter accounts.

An intern for former Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida

A West intern was canned in 2011 for accidentally retweeting from West's official account a response by the band Scissor Sisters to actor Tracy Morgan's homophobic rant. The message read, "Dear Tracy Morgan's son: if you are gay, you can TOTALLY come live with me. We’ll read James Baldwin & watch Paris is Burning. xxANA."

Richard Grenell, a former Mitt Romney spokesman

Grenell resigned in 2012 after taking heat for numerous inappropriate tweets that criticized Michelle Obama, Rachel Maddow, and other wives of other politicians. Grenell wrote that "Hillary is starting to look like Madeline [sic] Albright." He discussed Michelle Obama working out and "sweating on the East Room carpet." He also asked whether Callista Gingrich's "hair snaps on," and on another occasion, commented how Gingrich's third wife "stands there like she is wife #1."

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