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Disgruntled Former ZAlebs employee shares porn on Brands Twitter Account.

UPDATED: Disgruntled former employee gave me a statement which I’ve added to the article as well  as a response and the truth from ZAlebs. Strange things can happen at the dead of night on Social Media especially the night of the 04 February 2019 when 77,9k followers of the celebrity news account, ZAlebs, started to have porn shared on their Twitter timelines from the ZAlebs account.

 

Follower’s feeds were invaded with porn like unsolicited D-pics in your DMs. The ZAlebs account retweeted, quote tweeted and liked Heterosexual, Bisexual, Homosexual, Masturbation and Transgender Porn. The ‘social media community manager’ even commented on a few posts and liked all the tweets of the ZAlebs followers whom were tweeting about this porn rampage.

I do, in no way, condone the actions of the sharing of porn and what happened to the account, but this is merely an article about the events that happened.

 

Social Media marketing currently is a crucial and important form of digital marketing. Brands either hire external digital marketing agencies to manage their Social Media platforms and posts or they hire an in-house Social Media Community member. This is all common practice but what happens when something goes wrong.

 

It is not the first time that we have heard of an employee tweeting from a Brand’s account handle instead of their own account by mistake. You have also heard of upset employees taking to Social Media to air their concerns and to get back at their employers.

We rarely hear of Brand accounts getting hacked but is isn’t something we can rule out completely.

So, what was the case here. Was Zalebs hacked or was this done intentionally? A few speculations on Twitter were going around:

 

When someone else from the ZAlebs team realised what sticky situation their profile had found themselves in, pun intended, they unfollowed all the accounts they were following, un-retweeted and un-liked all the porn posts and deleted any comments or tweets made about porn.

A statement was then released stating that the account was hacked and they apologies.

As someone who deals with Social Media and Digital Marketing on the daily, I call Bullshit. Many Brands and Personal Profiles are quick to call the ‘We were hacked’ story instead of being honest with their followers. In 2019, Brands should be people on Social Media first before they are Companies.

The ‘Hacker’ knew what they were doing since they were liking all of the tweets of people talking about the porn saga.

 

The ‘Hacker’ even created a second account @ZAlebs_ were they continued their antics. They also replied to a tweet confirming that they were not paid and that was their reasoning for what they did. I have reached out for a comment from this ‘Hacker’ but have not received a response yet.

UPDATE

To avoid further damage, legal action, upset and confusion, I have included the official statement from ZAlebs as well as additional information that has been brought forward.

After speaking to ZAlebs, the truth is that the Twitter account was not hacked into (as their official statement on Twitter reads) but rather, turns out to be a former employee whom still had access to the account. This former employee accessed and posted on the account without authority.

The disgruntled former employee responded to my request for a statement and this is what they had to say:

James Boyce is a horrible, creepy, stingy old man who needs to learn how to speak to people and stop cheating them out of money they worked for. He has repeatedly been taken to the CCMA and he still has not learned how to treat employees. If he is not careful, he will find the EFF on his doorstep for the way he treats his South African and Zimbabwean staff … ZAlebs has potential to be a great brand but his strategies are driving it into the ground. Just look at how standards have dropped over there. Even without what happened on the account last night, that company won’t last more than a year.

After spending the afternoon speaking via email and via telephone calls with the team at ZAlebs, more information was shared with me. This former employee was involved in a dispute with the company and instead of going through the legal channels to resolve this, this person decided to share porn on the Twitter Account. As I have mentioned above, I have not once stated that I agree with the actions of the former employee but I was merely stating the happenings of the incident.

 

Also note, that the above statement is not my own words nor is what I agree with or how I feel about the people whom were mentioned in the statement. It turns out that the statement is untrue as Boyce has not been brought in-front of the CCMA and the ZAlebs site has actually been seeing an increase in site visits (inside statistics were shared with me off the record).

An official statement from Boyce:

On Monday evening at approximately 11:20 pm, our Social Media team became aware that the ZAlebs Twitter account was re-tweeting pornography. Our team, fully believing that it was a hacker, moved as rapidly as they could and by 1:00 am had re-established control of the account and deleted the offending messages. We, of course, apologized to our followers.

When the article was released on this site on February 5th, we were sadly made aware that it was a former employee of ours who had accessed our Twitter account. The employee in question was allowed to keep their ZAlebs email account as they transitioned out of the company on a freelance contract in order to assist them looking for a new position. Unfortunately, they failed to perform to that contract and as such, they were not paid. They seemed to accept the explanation given them on Monday but apparently, they acted otherwise that night.

The former employee used the ZAlebs email we had allowed them to keep to convince the owner of this site that they were an employee. Of course, as administrators of our email account, we have full access to those emails and correspondence.

We are aggressively pursuing a legal case against this employee as we do not believe that a pay dispute (of less than 2,000 ZAR) should ever justify an employee’s unauthorized use of a business account.

Furthermore, for the record, I have never appeared nor have been asked to appear in front of the CCMA. That is categorically false.

So it is clear that the Official Twitter Statement that was released by ZAlebs was what was the speculation made by the ZAlebs team that evening. Upon seeing the employee forum discussions (off record), I can confirm that the Team was unaware that the ‘Hacker’ was a former employee. It was only after my article was released, with the ‘hacker’s’ statement, that it became clear to the ZAlebs team that it was not just a Hacker but an inside job.

 

The accusations about Boyce’s conduct is not something I am able to comment on. I have had other individuals wanting to share their statements about him but have told the ZAlebs’ shareholder that I will not share those statements.

 

I conclude by saying that it is unprofessional and illegal to do what the former employee did. Brands, companies and even individuals who give access to their Social Media Accounts must have a sense of caution. If you relieve that individual, make sure that they no longer have access to work files or access to your Social Media Accounts. This is a terrible mess that happened with ZAlebs that I unintentionally got dragged into. There are the right channels to go through to get your complaints heard and this was not the correct way of handling a the dispute that the former employee had.

 

I do apologies for the upset I may have caused anyone with the sharing of the statement as it was not my intention.

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