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Meet Pauline Njoroge, the Facebook bigwig who posted her way out of a state job

Most people say they heard of Facebook before they signed up on the social media network. Pauline Njoroge says she “discovered” it in 2008 at a trying period in her life when she was unable to get fees for university education; when, as an alternative, she had become a regular visitor to the American Reference Center Library, a facility run by the US embassy in Nairobi.

She states on her website: “I picked and read almost every book I could find on politics and discovered Facebook as a tool I could use to address issues pertaining to politics and government that I was so passionate about.”

But that very tool, in which she has an impressive 139,000 followers and a verification badge to boot, is the proverbial rope that, if given enough of, one hangs himself or herself with. This is a platform where a post can come back to haunt you long after you thought the dust had settled. It has seen people denied visas, lose jobs or fail to get them altogether, get divorced, and more.

Pauline saw that side of Facebook last week when her appointment to the Tourism Regulatory Authority board was reversed due to a post raising doubts about the viability of Nairobi National Park, where she said the “economically redundant” feature added little value to the capital.

Gazette notice

Mr Najib Balala, the Cabinet Secretary who appointed her through a gazette notice, announced revocation of the appointment a day later as Pauline’s past post circulated online, saying the ministry would not want to be “associated with such people and such thinking”. He replaced her with Najma Ismail.