Someone in the New York Police Department’s public relations office thought it would be a good idea to create a Twitter hashtag to promote an online presentation of officers as beloved public servants. Somewhat predictably, everyone else on Twitter thought otherwise.
The NYPD announced the new campaign at 2 PM this afternoon, inviting people to use #myNYPD to tag and upload smiling pictures of themselves with police officers.
The hashtag backfired almost immediately, turning into a virtual catalog of photographs of New York’s finest using excessive, and often brutal, force.
Twitter users uploaded a plethora of pictures of the NYPD beating people up, violently dispersing protests, and carrying out the controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
This isn’t what the department had in mind when it created the social media campaign.
Yet this is not the first time a prominent and divisive organization mistakenly unleashed the wrath of all of social media upon themselves. Last year, JP Morgan Chase asked users to tweet questions at a top executive using the hashtag #AskJP.
The move bit back almost immediately when users quickly responded with questions such as: “Did you always want to be part of a vast, corrupt criminal enterprise or did you ‘break bad?’ ” and “When Jamie Dimon eats babies are they served rare? I understand anything above medium-rare is considered gauche.”
Then there was: “Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?”
Things seem to quickly be going down that road with #myNYPD.
This failed social media campaign shows that not all publicity is good publicity. At least not when you’re the NYPD.
Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928
Photo via Wikimedia Commons