Internet privacy and security course RU
Gaffes in social media that turned fatal for the careers of their authors

Gaffes in social media that turned fatal for the careers of their authors

We are going to tell you about unlucky publications in social media that led to widespread criticism and sacking. Insult a member of the Royal Family? Make fun about old people? Publish sexy photos? Do not repeat other people’s mistakes!

 In preparing this publication, we relied on mass media reports as were, and do not guarantee the accuracy of information below. 


Case 1

 Marina N. living in the city of Nizhny Tagil, Russia, was a hospital nurse, and became an anti-hero of the Russian Internet for publishing a photo of a patient on her social media page. There is nothing wrong with taking a picture of oneself with a patient, but that time the patient was on the operating table, unconscious under anaesthesia, and with his abdomen open; one can also see blood stains, and the identity of the operating surgeon is revealed in the photo. 

Russian hospital nurse

 The photo sparked quite a bit of public outcry, a committee on ethics was set up, and found that the photograph had been taken in breach of professional ethical standards. The medical nurse, however, was not sacked, but got away with a public apology and signing of the Code of Professional Conduct. Shortage of staff in the hospital may have played a role in this.


Case 2

 Olesya N., a medical nurse in the Kolomensk Central Hospital, was not so lucky. Olesya was preparing a patient for pancreatic surgery, and decided to document that memorable moment taking a photograph of the man lying naked on the operatingtable. Keeping the picture in her smartphone didn’t seem good enough, so Olesya published the photo of the naked patient in Instagram. The patient died two days later; and the photograph led to quite a bit of outcry and criticism in the Internet community. 

 Olesya’s job contract was terminated. This is what she said:

 “Certainly, this is not the best thing I ever did in my life. I don’t know why I published the photo, and I didn’t expect the consequences. The hospital administration is, however, unfair to me: in response to the complaints they said they had terminated my job contract, but they failed to explain the formal cause. Of what I know, formally, one can’t be sacked on the basis of ‘a publication in the Instagram’. They say I published personal information, and violated medical confidentiality requirements, but I never published passport data of the patient, his face can’t be seen there either.”


Case 3 

 In early 2016, Luciano Spalletti, Roma manager, and Francesco Totti, the legendary player of the Club, had a conflict; as a result, Francesca Brienza, anchor of the Club’s TV channel, lost her job.

Francesca Brienza

 Her contract was terminated because she had ‘liked’ a Facebook post suggesting the Roma manager should jump off a bridge (or be thrown off it).

Francesca Brienza like


Case 4

 Artem N., a police captain in the town of Bereznyaki, joined the activist group ‘The case against Navalny is a case against us’ (protesting against prosecution of the politician), and published a family photograph in support of the activist. For this publication, he paid with his job in the police. 

The case against Navalny is a case against us

 He was dismissed from his office ‘for an action compromising integrity of a police officer’. Giving an interview to an Internet media, Artem did admit that he had breached the law “On Service in Law Enforcement Agencies of the Russian Federation” that directly forbids police officers to publicly present their political opinions. 

 According to information in mass media, at the point of termination of his service contract, Artem had two dependent children, one of them with special needs. Had he served another 35 days, he would have been able to retire and receive state pension.


Case 5

 Alexander Plushev, a journalist at Echo of Moscow, a radio company in Russia, twitted an unethical comment about the death of the son of Sergey Ivanov, Head of Russia’s Presidential Administration; the young man got drowned while on holiday in the United Arab Emirates. 

"Do you think the death of Ivanov's son, who had once hit and killed an old woman by his car, and then orchestrated imprisonment of her son-in-law, is evidence of the existence of God / absolute justice?"

Do you think the death of Ivanov's son, who had once hit and killed an old woman by his car, and then orchestrated imprisonment of her son-in-law, is evidence of the existence of God / absolute justice?

Many of Alexander’s colleagues disapproved, and the journalist was sacked by Mikhail Lesin, Head of the Board of Directors of Gazprom Media Holding controlling the radio company. Alexander later apologized.


Case 6

 Ekaterina N., a social media manager at Sberbank, once twitted a peculiar ‘’:  

"Popular life-hack: write the word ‘Sberbank’ on the wall using simple chalk, and soon there will be a line of 30 oldies queueing at the wall. Did anybody try? Does it work?"

Sberbank life hack

 The ‘oldies’ didn’t quite get the joke, neither did the senior managers; and it is for a reason: clearly, the message shows disrespect for customers, and it is a stupid joke anyway. 

 Sberbank apologized for the publication and sacked Ekaterina N. 


Case 7 

 Octavia Nasr had worked at CNN for 20 years covering Middle Eastern affairs. Following the death of Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, leader of Hezbollah, Ms Nasr tweeted she was sad to hear of the passing of the Hezbollah leader, whom she respected a lot. 

 For this sadness and respect, she was sacked. According to mass media, the pressure was put onto CNN by Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a human rights organization, because as far as they were concerned, Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah was a terrorist, while Hezbollah is classified as a terrorist organization in the USA, Canada, Israel, and some other countries, and one should think twice before expressing their sympathy and support to them. 


 Case 8

 On 9 May 2012, Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed in Indonesia during a demonstration flight. Visibility being low, the aircraft crashed into mountains, leaving all 45 people on board dead (42 passengers and 3 crew members). 

 On the same day, Ekaterina N, a cabin crew member at Aeroflot – Russian Airlines twitted a rather cynical comment on the tragedy:

"What, the superjet has just tumbled down?! LOL! That’s a shit plane. Pity, it didn’t belong to Aeroflot, or we would have one less now, or sell all of them away altogether!"

Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed in Indonesia

The twit doesn’t deserve any discussion. Several hours later she was sacked from Aeroflot. 


 Case 9 

 Guzalia N., 46, a school teacher in the city of Ufa, the capital city of Bashkortostan Republic in Russia, published her opinion of ‘Russian wenches’ on Facebook.  

 "Russian wenches, I have come to hate you during my holiday in Turkey. How did you manage to have messed everything and spoiled the attitude of Turkish men towards female tourists from Russia’?

 The post itself was quite adequate, but mass media took this one phrase out of the context and overhyped it. As a result, the teacher was sacked, and the General Prosecutor’s office took up the case. 

 Law enforcement agencies decided that Guzalia’s post contained negative information about representatives of the Russian nation, and could incite hatred.


 Case 10

 Irina N., a judge in the city of Ulan-Ude, published a provocative picture in her social media page, showing her licking a bottle of vodka and drinking vodka out of the bottle. 

judge in the city of Ulan-Ude

 One may think in a cold winter in Buryatia a bit of vodka does people good, but the Committee on Judicial Ethics of the Buryatia Judicial Council found that Irina had breached judicial ethics, so her employment was terminated. 


Case 11

 Ashley N., a high school teacher, was sacked for a scandalous party photo showing her with a glass of wine in one hand, and a pint of beer in the other. Schoolchildren’s parents found the picture appalling, and the head teacher learnt about it, and sacked her. Mass media reports that Ashley has initiated a legal proceeding against her former employer, claiming the termination of her job contract was illegal.


Case 13

Natalie N. living in Quebec, Canada, was not coming to her office; instead she was getting insurance payments after being diagnosed with severe depression. All that continued for a while, until her insurance agent discovered photographs of the lady taken in clubs and on sea beaches published on her Facebook page. Natalie looked happy and joyful, and the agent thought she was quite capable of working.  

 The insurance payments were stopped, and Natalia is now trying to prove in court that this life style was a part of her holistic treatment as prescribed by her doctor.


Case 14

 One day, Ashley N, 22, a waitress in Brixx Pizza, had to stay an hour past her quitting time, to service a table. The guests spent there three hours, but were not appreciative of her work leaving her only a $5 tip.

 On coming home, the girl turned to her Facebook page and called them ‘cheap piece of ---- camper’. She also mentioned the name of the pizzeria in her post, which attracted attention of the company management (all reputable companies monitor mentioning of their brands across social media and Internet).

 Ashley was sacked for her post. The girl admitted she was wrong and apologized. Now she is looking for a new job. 


 Case 15 

 On her Facebook page, a juror of the Burnley Crown Court (UK) published materials of an ongoing case along with her view of the matters, and a survey tool, so that everybody could vote for this or that verdict.

 The court didn’t appreciate the initiative of publicly disclosing details of a case concerning rape of two teenagers, 12 and 14, and suspended the juror from the case. Moreover, she is now threatened with potential imprisonment for breach of confidentiality.  


Case 16

 Cameron N., a Scots Guard, was taking part in a rehearsal of the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince Harry. He didn’t like it that Kate hadn’t looked at him when she and Prince Harry were driving past him. 

 So Cameron published a post on Facebook calling Kate a ‘stuck up cow’. 

Cameron Scots Guard

 The 18-year-old guard was suspended from the wedding ceremony. Representative of the Ministry of Defence said: “it would not be appropriate for the individual to be on parade for The Royal Wedding”. A nice beginning of one’s career, we call it.

 His posts and pictures shows the guy liked booze, and used to say things first, and think later.  


 Case 17

 The young guy on the picture below decided to start his morning by smoking marijuana; smoking in private, however, didn’t feel good enough, so he published a photo on Facebook, where it caught the eye of his manager. The guy was sacked for smoking drugs before work. 

guy was sacked for smoking drugs before work


 Case 18

 Further to marijuana, it is not only bad for your health — even mentioning it on your social media accounts can lead to you losing your job. Sunitkh N., a machine operator in Canada, posted a twit asking marijuana sellers nearby to come and bring him a joint. 

York municipal police re-twitted the message

 Whether or not drug sellers answered him, but the York municipal police re-twitted the message, suggesting they come over, and also informed the man’s employer about the incident. As a result, the unlucky operator was sacked. 


 Case 19

 Kimberley N., 16, was enrolled as a secretary at Ivell Marketing and Logistics in Essex, UK. On the very first day she shared her opinion on the new job on Facebook: "first day at work. omg!! So dull!!”. The post caught the eye of her senior managers, who then sacked her. 


Case 20 

 Stephany N., an HR specialist at Lloyds, turned to Facebook to compare her salary and the salary of Antonio Horta Osorio, a new Vice President. 

 Stephany was shocked she was paid just GBP 7 per hour, while he would be paid GBP 4,000 per hour (or $21 M a year). 

The ill-hidden frustration with the ‘lack of justice’ and disclosure of confidential information attracted attention of top management of Lloyds Banking Group, resulting in the termination of her job contract. 

 Stephany was extremely surprised with the outcome, as the information about Antonio Horta Osorio’s pay had been already announced on TV, and her own salary was not confidential information. But the bank managers weren’t prepared to change their mind.


Case 21

 Adeline N., a staff member of the Swiss Parliament, liked taking pictures of herself and publishing them on social media in her free time. That would have been all right, if not for extreme sexual nature of the pictures. There came a day when they got noticed by mass media. A high-profile outcry was triggered, and the public servant was sacked.  

staff member of the Swiss Parliament

 By the way, Adeline had over thirteen thousand followers at the time this training course was developed. 

And now, our TOP 3 most hilarious, funny and silly job termination stories caused by publications in social media: naked teacher of music, unusual sandwich preparation method, and one other story you will never forget.


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Elena N., living in a village of Konakovo, Tver Region in Central Russia, got popular for an unusual hobby: she was publishing sexy photos in social media. One would probably get away with it, but she was a school teacher of music. Her social media page still contains quite a few immodest pictures. Moreover, there were pictures of her smoking in her school room thus breaching administrative regulations.

publishing sexy photos in social media

 The pictures attracted attention of mass media, and the teacher was advised to resign voluntarily. Elena, however, didn’t take on the advice, believing that the pictures were a matter of her private life. Then, she was suspended from teaching by a decision of the Board of Teachers.


 The next post resulted in sacking goes without comments...

crazy girl 


And number one on our list is an ex-employee at Subway, who was supposed to be making sandwiches. Ian N. posted a picture where he is placing his cock on top of a sandwich. 

 placing his cock on top of a sandwich

 The text under the picture is just a cherry on a cake:

 ‘I am Ian, and today I will be your sandwich master.’ 

 Goes without saying, Ian was sacked immediately.




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