San Francisco Fed reins in Twitter use after wayward tweet

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 03, 2016 2:27 PM

By Amy Tennery

(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on Wednesday imposed a new policy banning staff from tweeting from its official Twitter account on their personal devices, a day after the bank apologized for an employee's unauthorized tweet dismissing the Iowa caucuses as irrelevant.

On Monday night, as results were coming in from the Iowa caucuses, a San Francisco Fed staffer used the bank's confirmed Twitter handle @sffed to send a tweet deriding the first-in-the-nation presidential nominating contest.

The tweet was deleted, but not before Zero Hedge, an independent, anonymous blog about financial markets and economics, captured a screen grab of it and posted it to its site.

"Rick Santorum won #Iowa in 2012," the tweet read. "Rick Santorum didn't win...anything that matters. Iowa is...Iowa."

The San Francisco Fed tweeted out a two-part apology Tuesday afternoon.

"Last night an employee mistakenly tweeted from the Bank’s account. The tweet was deleted b/c it doesn’t represent the Bank’s views," the San Francisco Fed tweeted. "We apologize for this mistake; we are reviewing our policies & practices to ensure that this does not happen again."

In an email to Reuters on Wednesday, a bank spokesman said that under its policy, employees will "only access the Banks’ account with Bank issued devices."

The San Francisco Fed is among the most prolific tweeters of the 12 regional banks in the Federal Reserve System. With 7,287 tweets issued under its handle, the bank's volume trails only the Federal Reserve banks of St. Louis (@stlouisfed), which has more than 16,400 tweets under its name, and Richmond (@RichmondFed), which has 9,836 tweets using its handle.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was the Republican victor in Iowa, while among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton narrowly edged out Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9 will be the next contest for candidates vying to represent each party in the November presidential election.

(Additional reporting by Dan Burns in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)