The advantages that some companies have gained from an intelligently deployed social media strategy has placed other businesses under increased pressure to get tweeting. However, while Twitter has become a permanent weapon in many marketers’ arsenals, few users face the threat of arrest for not tweeting.
This is exactly what happened to Scott Braun, manager of teenage Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber, who handed himself in to police at Wilston Park, New York last Wednesday for refusing to send a tweet on behalf of his client.
When Bieber’s scheduled autograph-signing appearance at a clothing store was cancelled due to overcrowding, Braun was asked by police to send a Tweet to Bieber’s massing fans advising them of the cancellation, thus avoiding the danger of fans getting trampled in the horde.
Not only did Braun refuse to send the message, he went so far as to change the password on Bieber’s Twitter account so that no-one else could.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, “By refusing to send out the cancellation Tweet and preventing others from doing so, he blatantly ignored police directives.” She added that Braun had “endangered the very fans who came to see his client”.
Island Def Jam Senior Vice President James Roppo, who also refused to stop the event and was arrested at the time, contacted Braun who then finally sent the Tweet. However, it was too late.
He faces charges of reckless endangerment and criminal nuisance and, if convicted, could spend up to one year in jail.