Over the weekend, Elon Musk settled with the SEC over what the agency described as securities fraud stemming from a single tweet, the one where Musk announced he intended to take Tesla private (and even had the funding).
Here is the tweet to relive it all over again:
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
The SEC leveled a fine against Musk for $20 million and also against Telsa for $20 million. Musk has to step down as Chairman as well, for at least three years.
Now, say what you want about the iconic entrepreneur (I like his style and recently wrote about some of his amazing ideas related to how the brain works), but you have to admit the tweet looked a little strange.
In a press report, the SEC explained why they took action:
"According to the SEC's complaint against Tesla, despite notifying the market in 2013 that it intended to use Musk's Twitter account as a means of announcing material information about Tesla and encouraging investors to review Musk's tweets, Tesla had no disclosure controls or procedures in place to determine whether Musk's tweets contained information required to be disclosed in Tesla's SEC filings."
Reading that should send shivers down your spine if you post on social media--and specifically Twitter--without any review or approval process.
Twitter is a free-for-all, and if you post and your followers start retweeting what you say, it won't matter if you delete the tweet.
If you're at all worried, here are three apps that could easily save your skin.
Buffer is the most affordable social media manager that still offers a plan that involves an approval process. We all know Musk maintains his independence and posts when he wants and how he wants. For the rest of us, the Buffer Pro plan that costs $99 for five users (there's a 50% discount for non-profits) could be a life-saver. Posts must be approved before they go live. The app includes plenty of scheduling options, analytics, and a few other perks.
Moving quickly up the pricing spectrum, Sprout Social offers a Corporate plan for $149 per user per month that includes an approval process. Sprout has many more extensive features than Buffer, such as team reporting and campaign management. I also prefer both the browser version and the mobile app because of the design and how easy it is to navigate. I first wrote about it way back in 2011 when I was writing a column in Inc. Magazine.
The app that is probably best suited to a company like Tesla, Hootsuite offers a Corporate plan that costs $599 per month. Unlike Buffer, you can assign employees into groups and then have an admin over that group. The admins can assign roles, manage content, and approve posts before they ever go live. The only downside is the high-cost (plus I've never been a big fan of the interface and how it uses a series of columns).