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Domain registrar GoDaddy's CEO Bob Parsons released a video of himself shooting a "problem elephant" in Zimbabwe -- to the shock of the social media community and to the detriment of the business.
At best, the CEO could have chosen to limit the video to a privacy-secured Facebook profile. Instead, it was released on Twitter.
Even forgetting how creepy it is to outfit everyone in the village with Go Daddy baseball caps, the footage resulted in campaigns to Boycott Go Daddy -- later repeated by its public support of anti-piracy bill SOPA -- outrage from animal activist groups, and a social media backlash.
Parsons later defended himself on his blog, arguing that his target was a "problem elephant" that had been destroying crops that supported villagers. However, when you are a public figure, releasing such footage can do no good for the reputation of the company you represent.
Habitat UK is commonly associated with fabrics and upholstery, but came under fire when it decided to hijack hashtags to promote itself.
Hashtag are used in order to 'point' a tweet at a certain conversation. Examples include #edtech (educational technology), #jobs and #business.
What Habitat decided to do, however, was hijack any hashtags that were trending on Twitter -- and therefore popular -- to market their products. From popular television show #Trueblood to the Iranian's elections' #MOUSAV tag, nothing was safe.
The online community condemned the company for its social media actions, and it was forced to apologise to the public.
Fashion designer Kenneth Cole caused outrage with a politically insensitive tweet that many believed made light of the protests in Egypt. Perhaps it was nothing out of the common way in terms of pub talk, but as social media lacks tone and businesses need to be extremely careful with how they handle the platforms, it is no wonder the comment caused nothing but bad press.
The tweet read: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online."
After Twitter users reacted angrily to the message, Cole removed the offending tweet and issued an apology on his Facebook Page:
“I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’ve dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate. Kenneth Cole, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer”
See also: Politicians: Think before you tweet