As social media managers we love a good fail story. They’re entertaining, educating and allow us to join together to let out a small sigh of relief that it wasn’t us. 2014 has been quite the year for brands to screw up on social media, from tweets that slipped trough the cracks to posts they clearly didn’t totally understand before pushing live. We’ve taken advantage of the lapse in brands’ filtration systems to provide you with our top five worst social media mistakes of the year:
Just this month, the television network seemed to forget that time zones are something they need to account for. They released major The Walking Dead spoilers on both Facebook and Twitter during their mid-season finale, the main one being a beloved character’s death. Though the show had just finished airing on the east coast, it ruined the ending for viewers on the west coast, causing for some upset fans.
The multinational chain’s “Fat Girl” section of Halloween costumes on their website spread rapidly through the Twitter-sphere, forcing them to acknowledge the mistake on social media. Wal-Mart took a lot of heat from users about the heading- and the banner ad with the headline “Make it a Monstrously BIG Halloween” probably didn’t help their cause, either. They publicly admitted that the term should never have been posted on their site, though it did take a few hours to be taken down.
3. DiGiorno Pizza
“A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting,” was the apology issued by the pizza company after it insensitively and incorrectly used the hashtag #WhyIStayed. The hashtag, which had become incredibly popular in the days following the release of the Ray Rice video, was being used as an outlet for those involved in domestic violence to speak out. The tweet: “#WhyIStayed: there was pizza”, was taken town within minutes. Additionally, DiGiorno apologized to upset users individually, with personalized messages.
2. New England Patriots
This past November, the Patriots started a campaign to become the first team in the NFL to hit 1 million followers by asking all of their current followers to retweet a message with the hashtag #1MillionPatriots. To thank their fans for helping them reach their goal, they sent an automated message to their followers that auto-generated the user’s Twitter handle onto the back of a Pats jersey. The team clearly didn’t filter thoroughly- one of the images contained @IHateN****RS. The team removed the image as quickly as possible and issued an apology through a tweet.
And the winner of worst internet screw-up in 2014 is…
1. U.S. Airways
What started as proactive customer service ended in a deleted pornographic photo, an apology and a lot of jokes! Back in April, a woman–while complaining about an American Airline flight (owned by U.S. Airways)–used a model plane in a compromising position to voice her griefs via Twitter. Somehow in their response, U.S. Airways not only missed viewing the image entirely, but reposted it to the world. While the EXTREMELY NSFW image was only up for 22 minutes, the jokes landed. They had no explanation of what happened and claimed to be “investigating” in their apology. Oops!