Jefferson CEO says executive 'should have known better' in Twitter use

The leadership team of Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University is responding to a report about one executive's use of Twitter, which involved "liking" tweets about COVID-19 vaccines and gender reassignment surgery. 

Mark Tykocinski, MD, president of Thomas Jefferson University and the Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia, was the subject of a story in The Philadelphia Inquirer on April 29 about his use of Twitter and tweets he "liked," most of which have since been reversed since the story's publication. Tweets questioned the validity and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and called gender reassignment surgery "child mutilation." 

Dr. Tykocinski told the newspaper he "liked" tweets to bookmark them in an effort "to learn more about the subject matter or the particular viewpoint." He said he did not endorse the tweets or the person tweeting those thoughts.

"I regret my lack of understanding of how 'liking' a tweet is an implied endorsement," he told the Inquirer. "I also regret how my lack of understanding of the Twitter platform caused some to question my views on these complex issues."

Joseph Cacchione, MD, CEO of Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University, issued a message April 30 to faculty, employees and students, noting his disappointment in Dr. Tykocinski's "careless" use of the social media network. 

"At his level, he is held to a higher standard and should have known better," Dr. Cacchione wrote, according to The Inquirer.

Dr. Tykocinski also issued an apology within Dr. Cacchione's email. "I understand that my lack of knowledge of the Twitter platform created questions and unintentionally offended many," he wrote. "Please be assured this will be a learning experience, and I will grow as a person and professional from this misstep."

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