by Lauren Brousell

Top 10 Celebrity Tech Mishaps and Lessons Learned from Them

Feb 15, 20126 mins
Consumer ElectronicsSocial Networking AppsTwitter

Sexting aside, celebrities often fall victim to a lot of bonehead mistakes with technology that CIOs are just as guilty of. Here are 10 examples of famous gaffes by famous people and tips for how to avoid making them yourself.

Charlie Sheen, actor

Crime: Botched direct message on Twitter. What Happened: Sheen fell victim to something that plagues many a Twitter user and inadvertently publicly tweeted his personal phone number when he intended to private message it to Justin Bieber. Lesson Learned: To send a direct message you actually have to go into the message section of Twitter and address the message to the person you are trying to reach. A direct message is NOT when you reply to someone’s tweet with the reply button within the Twitter timeline. As a guideline, to communicate private information, you may want to use a more secure communication method.

Jesse Eisenberg, actor

Jesse Eisenberg

Crime: Creating a fake Facebook page What Happened: While researching his role in The Social Network, Eisenberg created a fake Facebook profile under the name of playwright and host of NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” Peter Sagal. Eisenberg eventually deleted the fake Sagal account but confessed everything to him during an interview on the show. Eisenberg apparently got a taste of his own medicine when several people created fake Facebook pages under his name. Lesson Learned: Only create social media pages under your own name and identity. Public figures can create verified fan pages on Facebook to avoid having a personal profile. You can also request to have fake profiles removed by contacting Facebook.

Peter Gammons, sportswriter

Peter Gammons

Crime:  Pocket Tweeting What Happened: Gammons has “pocket” tweeted so often, the gibberish-like messages on his Twitter feed have risen to infamy. In fact, the pocket tweets of Gammons now have their own following of people. There are even blogs that cover his top pocket tweets of the month. Lesson Learned: Lock the screen of your phone. Better yet, use a password so only you can access your phone. Frequent tweeters should also be sure to go into their phone’s settings and set your device to automatically lock the screen after you’ve been idle. To prevent accidental activity in a specific application, close out of it before you return your device to your pocket.

Paris Hilton, reality star/personality

Paris Hilton

Crime: Tweeting her whereabouts and current activity What Happened: The members of the Bling Ring, a group of young people who robbed celebrity homes, used Google Earth to find the location of Hilton’s home and how best to gain access. More importantly, they knew she would not be home thanks to the socialite’s tweets. Lesson Learned: Let’s face it, odds are no one is going to stalk a CIO, but leaving a trail of your whereabouts isn’t wise for anyone. Avoid the LinkedIn add-on for My Travel, which lets you post your upcoming travel schedules. It would also be wise to request your home address be blocked from Google Earth and Maps (visit the help section of Google Street View to do this).

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California/actor

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Crime: Sharing an ill-received video “thank you” via Twitter What Happened: Schwarzenegger meant for his video to be a light-hearted “thank you” to his constituents for their budget cutting ideas. Clearly, “The Governator” had been away from Hollywood a little too long. His message of “cutting” budgets fell flat, especially with citizens lobbying for anti-violence actions, because he elected to wield a giant knife while talking. Lesson Learned: Remember who your audience is. Unless you filter your tweets, your Twitter feed can be read by most of the world. And while video is a great communication tool, it’s not right for everything. If you’re unsure how your joke might be received, it may be best to keep it simple.

Alec Baldwin, movie/TV actor

Alec Baldwin

Crime: Refusing to stop his Words with Friends game on an airplane What Happened: Baldwin was asked by the flight attendant to turn off his electronic device prior to his flight taking off. Apparently, his Words with Friends game was more important than FAA regulations. Lesson Learned: Sadly this kind of “crime” is not limited to celebrities. We’ve seen more than a few execs pull this stunt. Yes, it really is against the rules to use your phone during portions of flights. According to the FAA, the true risk of radio signal interference is unknown, but do you want to find out the hard way? Just listen to your flight attendant. No text message is so important it can’t wait.

Snooki, reality star from Jersey Shore


Crime: Tweeting/texting while driving What Happened: Snooki was driving home from an unrelated court date and used her phone to repeatedly Tweet about being stuck in traffic. Lesson Learned: The mayor of Newark, N.J. saw Snooki’s tweets and threatened to give her a ticket for texting while driving. New Jersey is one of 35 states in the U.S. that have laws against cell phone use while driving. If you get caught, you will be pulled over and ticketed. And that’s getting off easy: Real accidents happen all the time from distracted driving due to mobile device use. If you really must use your phone while driving, use voice calling and texting functions that are hands-free such as Siri on the iPhone 4S.

Kim Kardashian, reality star

Crime:  Blackberry addiction What Happened: On an episode of the family’s reality show on E!, Kim was accused by her sister Kourtney of abusing her mobile device to the point where she never noticed her sister had left her at a restaurant. Lesson Learned: Don’t let technology get in the way of real human interaction. If you must bring your phone to a meeting, keep it powered off in your pocket. Family members are not the only ones who find this type of distraction deplorable. If you’ve booked face time with a colleague, you owe them the courtesy of your undivided attention.

Lady Gaga, singer

Lady Gaga

Crime: Facebook death scam What Happened: A scam claiming Lady Gaga was found dead in a hotel room was the work of some crafty Facebook hackers. Clicking on the story sent a spam “like” to your Facebook page. Lesson Learned: This has been a problem for celebrities like Heidi Klum, deemed the most dangerous celebrity on the Internet due to the amount of malware linked to her name. There’s not much brands or people can do to prevent their identity from being misused, but you can take steps to avoid passing on this kind of spam. Checking the source isn’t always foolproof (the Gaga story appeared to be on the BBC website). Free tools, such as SiteAdvisor or LinkScanner, protect against malicious websites.

Tiger Woods, professional golfer

Tiger Woods

Crime:  Explicit text messages exposed What Happened: The professional golfer was balancing multiple mistresses, two of which exposed text messages they received from him, describing Woods’ detailed sexual desires. Lesson Learned: It probably goes without saying, but don’t send text messages that you wouldn’t want to land in the wrong hands. Always delete old messages you have received. In the corporate environment, be especially careful about what you are sending over SMS, like confidential information or your own opinions. And if that device you’re using is corporate-issued, litigation requiring e-discovery is always a possibility meaning those text messages could be held against you in court.