Case Studies of Issues Arising From Social Media Misrepresentation

The issue of mismanaging organisation’s social media handles is not limited to a region. It is a global occurrence which stakeholders in organisations need to give serious attention. Recently, some reputable organisations were seen to be victims of mismanaging social media in Nigeria.


Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) caused a social and online media storm by claiming that the Supreme Court had ruled in his favour for GTBank to pay him N14 billion in 14 days. “The management of Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing want to bring to the attention of the public to the caption, Supreme Court Orders @gtbank to pay N14b to Innoson made on its official Twitter handle @Innosonvehicles,” the company stated.

However, original records of the court proceedings seemed to show no such ruling. GTBank had also advised the public that Innoson’s claims were false, mischievous and malicious. As facts on the ground became clear very quickly, Innoson’s first move was to delete his declaration on social media that the apex court has ordered GTBank to pay him N14 billion within 14 days.

Innoson later owned up that it erred on information concerning the recent judgment delivered by the Supreme Court between the company and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank). Admitting the error on the company’s official Twitter handle, @Innosonvehicles, the company blamed the “error” on the staff of the agency managing its social media accounts.


Similarly, Premium Times published a story on Miyetti Allah, and Hasty Judgment By Farooq Kperogi. A publication sourced from a third party but published with the impression of direct reporting with which other local media fed from and as well published as a direct report. Even if the information in the publication were considered to be direct confessions from Miyetti Allah spokesman, there must be a substantial proof from an information source, otherwise, credit or quote your source. News should not be a product of assumption or a third-party narration.

The Premium Times has taken the right step in sacking the reporter. However, the organization needs to review its lapses and set modality of preventing such from future happenings.


Another shocking reputational damage is that of Mr Ochereome Nnanna, the Chairman Editorial Board of Vanguard Newspaper, who clearly portrayed himself as an ethnic bigot reacted to the June 12 recognition of Chief MKO Abiola, GCFR.

In a comment on Facebook, Mr Nnanna referred to the Yorubas as “Sophisticated Morons”. This would not have been a serious issue if an individual who is not a public figure had issued such a statement. But considering the sensitive position that Mr Ochereome Nnanna occupies, it raised a lot of concerns in the public and as well, questioned the integrity of the organisation he represents.

Mr Ochereome Nnanna might have issued such a statement out of rift emotions. Maybe he would not have posted it if he had given it a second thought bearing in mind the ripple effect of the post to the peace of the nation, the position he holds in the society and the organization he represents. However, it is the duty of Vanguard Newspaper management to review the matter and take appropriate action to restore the dying image of the organization.


On the foreign scene, in a similar manner, an American writer and TV producer Roseanne Barr, in her tweet, said that “Valerie Jarrett, a former aide to President Obama, was the “baby” of the “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.”

Critics say she’s attempted to blame her racist tweets on her handle on a sleeping pill she took while also blaming the sleeping aid medication (Ambien) for a series of racist tweets that resulted in the cancellation of her show “Roseanne” by ABC on Tuesdays. In another tweet, Barr tweeted, “Guys, I did something unforgivable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambient tweeting.” She went further, saying that she has “done weird stuff while on ambient-cracked eggs on the wall at 2 am etc –“

Ashleigh Koss, a spokeswoman for the North America region of Sanofi, the maker of Ambien, said in a written statement Wednesday, “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” The management of Sanofi also took their social media to quickly correct the impression that “People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” The tweet attracted 186K likes and 74.3K people talking about it.


Managing the organisation brand and its social media goes together since social media is the trending platform for communicating a wider range of audience, it becomes imperative that it is given serious attention. Before an individual or agency, is consulted to manage organisation social media, certain qualities need to be considered aside generating content.

Client Information Background
This refers to the in-depth knowledge of the organization, core values, objectives, and mission statement. This will help shape the message style of social media posting and firsthand information about the brand. It is possible for Ashleigh Koss to have admitted to Barr Roseanne’s claim that Sanofi product influenced her racist post if not guided. Information background is relevant to advancing the publicity of a brand.

Public Relations Expertise
This aspect of value cannot and should never be played down on in any sphere of life. This is the engine room of branding that is responsible for audience perception of brands. This is where branding objectives and audience engagement is evaluated to strike balance. PR is like a diagnosis center that determines the best treatment with a befitting approach, helping you to find the right people or organizations and how to link with them.

Being proactive refers to projecting ahead of future and living ready for it. Lack of this value has made a lot of brands become vulnerable to negative narratives by members of the public which organizations need to learn from. This is a reason for engaging organizations with advertising and public relations expertise like Isu Media.


Organizations that aim to excel and reach a wider range of audience need to adopt social media as a tool for engagement. The prospects of social media are so huge to ignore. Yet its risk, if mismanaged, can be disastrous. The use of social media to improve organizations’ image is like someone that carefully drives to avoid hitting and being hit by other road users. Sometimes troubles don’t emerge from what is posted only, it also comes from propaganda and reactions from the audience. Social media is good for social exposure. Make sure you are well guided with its Social Media ethics: stay informed, be proactive, avoid being too defensive and bring out the good sides of issues to overturn challenges.

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