Victor Anichebe tweet shows perils of third-party tweeting


Sunderland’s Victor Anichebe suffered an embarrassing incident after Saturday’s last minute defeat to West Ham. The Nigerian tweeted to his account post – match a message reading:

Can you tweet something like Unbelievable support yesterday and great effort lads! Hard result to take! But we go again!

Anichebe clearly wasn’t that fussed about a direct copy and paste to Twitter, but it did show that footballers are still relying on third parties to write their tweets for them. Not only has the mistake completely cast into doubt how much of their content players actually write, but it’s also done some damage for the football. The mistake has a sour note for football fans and takes all credibility away from praising fans, making it instead somewhat hollow.

What could have been a message of appreciation for the fans has instead backfired entirely. Whilst there is nothing new with third parties, and even sponsors, helping craft social media content for their athletes to promote, this incident does show there is a risk involved.

The incident does pose an interesting question for clubs whether they’ve catered for third-party involvement when players sign official club Social Media Policy documents? With so much sponsorship now focused on social media, this doesn’t just harm club/player brand but also potential revenue generated from sponsorship activation.

Why shouldn’t players out-source their Social Media to third parties?

  • Users follow the players individual account for a real interaction. If it’s clear that the player isn’t the one tweeting then why should they bother follow?
  • Ensuring consistency between tweets can be difficult. The content and language used by a footballer is likely to be very different of a PR/Social Media professional
  • It’s not particularly transparent and therefore carries no credibility amongst fans
  • Some clubs and institutions may prohibit players providing access to third parties as part of their Social Media Policy

Sean Walsh

Founder of and leading Football Social Media expert.

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