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Twitter Gaffe

Three January Twitter gaffes from people who should have known better

Twitter Gaffe

Three January Twitter gaffes from people who should have known better

The year is only a month old, but it has already seen a record for the most retweeted tweet of all time. While it’s been a great start to 2019 for Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa though, there have been plenty of examples of other people and companies having a torrid time on Twitter this month.

Here are three examples of how not to tweet, and what we can learn from them:

1. Huawei

Chinese electronics giant Huawei started the year on the wrong foot with this now deleted New Year greeting tweeted on January 1.

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At first glance, there might not seem to be much wrong with it, and indeed the problem is not with the content, but how it was posted. We can see at the bottom of the tweet that it was sent via an iPhone – something many users picked up on and expressed surprise and scorn over, especially with Apple being a competitor for Huawei.

It may seem only a minor detail, but it appears that Huawei is not at all impressed and Reuters has reported that the two employees responsible have faced sanctions for causing “damage to the Huawei brand”.

With Chinese New Year coming up, it is to be hoped that any further seasonal greetings from the company will not repeat this faux pas.

2. Notts County FC owner

Notts County are the oldest professional football club in England, but have seen better times than what they are going through at the moment. Bottom of the entire Football League, things got even worse for the Magpies on Sunday when they found themselves caught up in an embarrassing Twitter escapade.

Club owner Alan Hardy tweeted a screenshot of two contrasting views on his reign from the same supporter, seemingly to make a point about the fickle nature of football fans. What he didn’t realise was that his camera roll was included in his tweet and included what the media has widely referred to as an ‘intimate photo’.

This prompted Hardy to delete his Twitter account, and later the same day, in a move he insisted was not connected to the incident, he put the club up for sale.

3. Allison Pearson

Anybody working for a major newspaper should be aware of the need to check their facts, but that didn’t seem to occur to Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson. She tweeted an image incorrectly claiming that the BBC had been silenced on its coverage of ‘yellow vest’ protests, when even a quick look at the BBC News website would have told her this was not true. She later deleted the tweet and apologised for being ‘gullible’.

What can we learn from this?

First of all, although mobile internet is now more popular than desktop, it’s generally more professional to send company tweets from desktop computers. Major companies should have policies on how tweets are posted, and in Huawei’s case, it appears these were not followed.

Secondly, anyone posting screenshots on their phone should be aware that it takes a picture of everything on their screen, not just the part they want to focus on. Screenshots offer a great way to record anything not likely to stay around for long, and ironically, Hardy’s mistake has been amplified by the fact that some Twitter users managed to screenshot his quickly deleted tweet.

Thirdly, people must stop instantly believing and sharing everything they read, especially if they work in the media. We’ve seen this month that Facebook is planning to up its fact-checking efforts, and Microsoft Edge has installed a news credibility plug-in that the Daily Mail has fallen foul of. Hopefully, this will help us move towards a more rational and trustworthy social media outlook in 2019, with users more educated and informed on what they see and share.

John Murray

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