The CEO of Pizza Kitchen decided to trash a marketing company complaining they hacked the Pizza Kitchen Facebook page and stole his email list:

How to bake a social media problem: Take one serve of Self-publishing throw in 2 spoons of strong emotion stir with some passionate about business bake with a leadership role and then serve with strong personality.  Warning: Can get HOT!

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — The Pizza Kitchen offers fans of its pie a chance to “get social” by interacting with them on Facebook and Twitter. But what they shared about their marketing company could cost them a lot of dough.

According to a Knox County Circuit Court filing, owner Travis Redmon posted last month, “”Don’t EVER use Lowandtritt marketing firm.” The lawsuit says Redmon posted, “Crooks – stolen email list and have tried to pressure me by threat of lawsuit to sign a license agreement to use their marketing materials.”

The next day the comments continued on Twitter. “Lowentritt marketing firm has done it again.” “Can you believe that they have not only stolen my email list but have no hacked Pizza Kitchen’s facebook page taking it offline?”

Low and Tritt filed the lawsuit Sept. 1, charging the Pizza Kitchen with libel.  Pizza Kitchen

“The claim is that the posting on the Twitter page that was not accurate about the marketing company,” says Pamela Reeves. Reeves is partner of Reeves, Herbert & Murrian P.A., the office representing Low and Tritt in the case.

“It opens up lots of opportunities for defamation,” she says. Defamation – where a false comment damages the reputation of an individual or business – depends on the comment being untrue.

“If the statements that are made are accurate statements, you’re not defamed. It’s simply making an observation that’s true,” says Reeves. “Obviously our clients feel that that’s not the situation here.”

Twitter and Facebook have become a great way to sound off online. But it’s a reminder that you have an audience.

“Remember you always have the possibility of causing someone serious harm when you make those statements on the web,” says Reeves. “Unless you know you’re fully protecting yourself, you should be careful what you say.”

Volunteer TV contacted Low and Tritt and The Pizza Kitchen. Both companies refused to comment on the pending litigation. The defense has until Oct. 1 to respond to the suit. (here)

You might want to read through Social Media Staff Guidelines when considering your staff social media training. I also run courses on blogging policies and facebook guidelines etc – just so you know.