German Facebook site closed after employees insult bosses

Carmaker Daimler says it was Facebook’s decision to muzzle the complaining employees. But how much has social media changed the rules about who can say what?

It’s the kind of situation every company dreads and none wants to address: an employee flare-up on Facebook.

The social media giant has shut down a site where employees were allegedly insulting the management of German carmaker Daimler AG.

Citing German media, Forbes reported that Daimler had gotten the page pulled, but a Daimler spokesman in the United States says it was Facebook’s decision.

The page “Daimler Colleagues Against Stuttgart 21″ said German Chancellor Angela Merkel and CEO Dieter Zetsche were “at the head of a pack of liars.” Stuttgart 21 is a controversial urban development and construction project in the industrial city where the carmaker is based.

“It was a Facebook decision,” says Han Tjan, Daimler’s director of corporate communications for North America. “It was apparently quite an offensive posting or site.”

Either way, social media experts on this side of the Atlantic saw lessons here about dealing with criticism internally before it erupts on the Web—and not panicking if it flares up on Facebook.

Spotlighting the controversy?

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