New WWE policy on talent monetizing their social media accounts
WWE has confirmed that talents are banned from monetizing their Twitter and Instagram accounts by working with third parties. It was originally reported on Monday, via Wrestling Inc, that WWE was issuing “violations” to talent for tweets or Instagram posts that named any third party business, person, brand or charity. The violations begin with a warning, then a fine, and finally a talent suspension.
WWE is claiming ownership of talent Twitter and Instagram accounts via a clause in their contracts that gives WWE the exclusive use of their likeness. It was made clear to talents who have complained about the policy, that the current “flexibility” allowed in social media could be retracted by the company.
The original report was discussed on the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio. Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez gave an example of talent taking casual photos in front of a car or restaurant, stating that those would be punishable offenses if those brands were mentioned in the post. In an update, WWE has clarified the policy to F4Wonline.com and stated that those would not be punishable offenses unless the talent was making money from promoting those brands.
WWE stated that the new policy is no different from the recent policy on third party content through platforms such as Cameo and Twitch. For several months now WWE has not allowed talent to create unauthorized content through third party providers like Cameo and Twitch, but the ban had not specifically included Twitter and Instagram posts, until now. WWE is going on the guise that the contractual ownership of the likeness of their performers includes all social media accounts, regardless of whether the accounts use the stage names or the real names of the talent.