A South Carolina internet company has settled a lawsuit with one of its former employees over the value of Twitter followers. According to GoUpstate.com, which reports the story, the issue at stake was the control of the @noahkravitz Twitter account, which has more than 23,000 followers.
PhoneDog, a South Carolina website that reviews mobile devices, said that when Noah Kravitz resigned, he changed his Twitter account name from @PhoneDog_Noah to @noahkravitz, keeping its then-17,000 followers.
The company argued that the followers should be treated like a costumer list, and therefore PhoneDog’s property. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco, and attorneys for the website alleged that Kravitz owed them $340,000, which is about $2.50 per follower per month for eight months.
According to Mr. Kravitz, PhoneDog started objecting to his use of the account only after he sued them in June for unpaid wages in an ongoing case. Details of the settlement were not disclosed, but Mr. Kravitz will keep control of the disputed Twitter account. Mr. Kravitz, who worked for PhoneDog until 2010, recently founded a startup company in educational technology tools. In a statement issued after the settlement was reached, Mr. Kravitz said, “in retrospect, I’m sure we all wish we’d been able to foresee what was coming and negotiate specific terms ahead of time. If anything good has come of this, I hope it’s that other employees and employers out there can recognize the importance of social media to companies and individuals both.”