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Elon Musk banned from tweeting about Tesla without approval

Elon Musk must continue to get approval before posting tweets that relate to his electric vehicle company Tesla, the US Supreme Court has ruled.

Musk appealed a decision by security regulators in the US that ruled he would need to have his tweets approved by a Tesla attorney, after he claimed in a 2018 tweet that he had secured funding to privatise Tesla. 

The tweet caused Tesla’s share price to jump, and led to a temporary halt in trading. 

In 2021, Musk was also investigated over a potential breach of the settlement when he did not gain approval before tweeting about whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock.

Read more: How to be your professional self on social media

Ian Moore, managing director of consultancy Lodge Court, said that the case highlights a need for HR to introduce social media policies.

He told HR magazine: “The Supreme Court's rejection of Elon Musk's appeal regarding his tweet approvals underscores the critical need for clear social media policies within organisations.

"By establishing and maintaining comprehensive social media policies, HR departments can protect their companies from potential legal issues and reputational damage, while also encouraging a responsible and professional online presence among employees.”

Moore explained that social media policies should set out how employees are expected to behave on social media.

He commented: “Creating a social media policy involves defining its purpose and scope, setting guidelines for what constitutes acceptable behaviour, encouraging positive engagement, detailing any necessary approval processes, and clearly outlining the consequences of policy violations. 

“It's also important to address personal social media use, highlighting how employees can distinguish between personal views and the company's stance.”

Read more: Social media in workplace investigations

Kelly Tucker, CEO of HR solutions provider HR Star, added that HR should regularly review social media policies in line with the evolving social media landscape.

She said: “Regularly monitor social media activities but recognise that the social landscape evolves daily, so be prepared to periodically review the policy to keep it up to date with changing trends, societal standards and organisational needs.”

Tucker added that HR should ensure that social media policies are frequently communicated to employees.

She said: “Continually reiterate the policy to all employees so that the message is clear, and ensure that it is accessible for people to read at any time they wish to refer back to it. 

“Ensure they understand the rationale behind the policy and its importance, and welcome any questions they may have.

“Apply the policy consistently across all levels of the organisation, with directors and managers leading by example. Give 'model' social media posts to follow if necessary.”