German scientists have developed a new app which can possibly save you from getting fired by offering tongue-in-cheek warnings when you go too far with your complaints about your boss on Twitter.
Ricardo Kawase and colleagues at the University of Hanover in Germany created FireMe! as a way of reminding everyone how risky it can be to complain about your job publicly on Twitter.
They found almost 22,000 people who had tweeted about their job or boss in a negative way in a single week last June.
The team used an algorithm that looked for telltale phrases indicating someone had tweeted something negative about their boss or job, New Scientist reported.
The user then received an automated alert tweet from FireMe! which rebuked them with the message: "Can you imagine if your boss gets to know that you said: 'I hate my job so much'. You said that on Twitter and the whole world can see it!"
Each alert also contained a link which, if followed, gave them their FireMeter! score - their chance of being fired as a percentage.
It was calculated on the basis of how often they had mentioned their job negatively in the past 100 tweets and how often they swore.
Out of a total of 4304 FireMe! alerts sent in the space of three weeks, 249 recipients had deleted the tweet when it was checked two hours later.
A few also replied, from the relieved "Thanks buddy" to the nonchalant "they already know I hate my job. I'm in the process of leaving. Cheers for the heads up though!" An analysis found that people who tweeted negatively about their job generally tweeted more than regular users and had fewer followers than those who tweet positive things about their workplace.
The team said that young or inexperienced users would certainly benefit from post-hoc privacy alerts and warnings like FireMe!
"Potential dangers of personal, negatively loaded tweets remain abstract for most users, until the damage has been done," they said.