Charity criticised for offensive Christmas tweet

Posted on January 20, 2015


A post on Twitter by Oxfam has been heavily criticised by the Charity Commission.

Commenting that the charity’s tweet, which linked poverty in Britain to benefit cuts, could be construed as “party political”, the regulatory body went on to explain that Oxfam:

“…should have done more to avoid any misperception of political bias.”

The criticism related to a Twitter campaign that the charity used in the run-up to Christmas last year. Set against a raging ocean, the ad said a ‘perfect storm’ had been created by “zero hours contracts, high prices, benefit cuts and unemployment”.

The post was released to promote the charity’s Below the Breadline report. The paper issued a warning, stating that an increasing number of people were in food poverty in Britain.

The watchdog launched an investigation into the advert after it received a complaint from Tory MP Conor Burns.

Although the Commission said it accepted that Oxfam had no intention to be party political in its campaign, it warned that greater clarity over its content should have been used. It went on to add that the link to the report should also have been clearer on the message.

The post will serve as a warning to many firms to work with dedicated search engine optimisation (SEO) copywriting services. Helping ensure organisations steer a wide berth from political aversion or leanings, or make basic errors, professional web writing for news feeds can save a lot of hassle.

Welcoming the Commission’s ruling that the tweet was not political, the head of Oxfam, Mark Goldring, said that the charity’s social media procedures had been reviewed.

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