Social media is the wave of the now and future for promotions of products, services, and news. So who owns your Twitter followers, your Facebook fans, etc. A case pending in the Northern District Court of California, PhoneDog, LLC v. Kravitz will hopefully clarify it for us.
This situation is an employee as part of his job for started a Twitter account to provide mobile phone reviews. He collected over 17,000 Twitter followers. When he left the company he changed the name on the account and continued to use it for his own use.
PhoneDog claims that the Twitter followers are misappropriation of Trade Secrets that he is interfering with business relationships (the Twitter followers), and interference with its advertising since there is no longer a link to their website from the account.
So they Court needs to decide who owns the account the company which the account was started on behalf of or the person who regularly posted the feeds to the account. With this being the first case of this kind it will set the precedent for ownership in the online world.
To avoid this issue in your company have a written policy or agreement with your social media employees as to who owns the account. To do this, please consult your attorney.