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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

Citi accused of blocking start-up account over 'objectionable' blog content

The founder of a start-up social networking site for gay men has accused Citi of blocking the firm's bank account because it finds the content of his blogs "objectionable".


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My Image...My Blog...My Bank..No Way

Some stories are so jaw-droppingly weird that you just have to write about them...or at least I do.  This story is one of those.  So let me see if I can follow the logic that would make a bank turn down deposits based on a blog.  Banks are in the business of making money and social networks are in the business of making the most out of getting people together to hopefully create a shared experience based on a shared interest.  If they are lucky, social networking entrepreneurs will also make some money which they will then deposit in a bank who will in turn make some money. Very simple, very straight-forward and no different than the millions of other experiences banks and businesses have every day. 

So now, I've tried to find the logic in anyone at Citi saying that they wouldn't accept a bank account from Fabulis.  Maybe the representative on the phone was having a bad day and there is a valid rationale for turning down the opportunity to make money from Fabulis.  Who knows?  But as a company policy, I can't imagine anyone in a for-profit firm making this type of decision.  Because if there is a new policy based on what you or I put into a blog or post on Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever social network/social media we prefer...then we are all in trouble.

The line between personal and professional is blurring more and more daily.  There is a very real threat that someday soon no one will every be able to say they have a "private life". Microsoft just announced it is adding Facebook and MySpace to Outlook--the traditional office staple for firms across the globe.  More and more employers are putting in place policies to explain how employees access and utilize social networking sites.  In most cases, these policies make sense and are respectful of the differences between the employee and the person. Which helps to explain why a recent poll showed that most people don't want to friend their bosses on Facebook. 

My guess is that whatever happened in this instance had more to do with the employee than the employer. Because if people in the guise of businesses begin making business decisions based on blogs and web postings, you can bet there will always be something that someone finds objectionable. And this type of subjective reasoning will either kill the organization or bankrupt it fast.   The good thing to come out of this situation for Fabulis is a boatload of free publicity which doesn't hurt a start-up at all.  I'm sure there is a bank right now just waiting to take their money.

Comments: (1)

Matt White
Matt White - Finextra - Toronto 26 February, 2010, 11:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Citi apology posted here.