The largest provider of financial aid for college students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) apologized on Wednesday for an insensitive tweet about poor applicants, which prompted an angry backlash from Twitter users.
The original tweet sent out by FAFSA on Tuesday featured an image meme of actress Kristen Wiig in a scene from the film “Bridesmaids” containing the caption, “Help me. I’m poor.”
â€” Jacob Fischler (@ItsFischy) June 25, 2014
“If this is you, then you better fill out your FAFSA,” the tweet read.
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It was eventually taken down, but not before Twitter users screencapped the tweet and angrily responded to the federal agency.
We apologize for the insensitivity of our previous tweet. Our goal is to make college a reality for all. We're very sorry.
â€” Federal Student Aid (@FAFSA) June 25, 2014
FAFSA’s Twitter folly is the latest in a string of tone-deaf social media postings by governments and companies in recent years.
As businesses and government agencies have adopted social media as another avenue to communicate with customers and constituents, these social media faux pas have become increasingly common.
Take a look at some of the biggest social media slip-ups.
“Me likey Broke Girls”
Phil Hardy, a congressional staffer accidentally sent out suggestive comments from the official Twitter account of his boss, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. “Me likey Broke Girls,” the tweet read, referencing a 2013 Super Bowl advertisement featuring “Two Broke Girls” actresses Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. Hardy was fired as a result of the Twitter mistake.
Kmart Black Friday
Kmart announced in 2013 that it would be open on Thanksgiving Day, expecting an excited response from shoppers. Instead they received a flood of angry tweets, criticizing the move. Kmart’s response didn’t make it better, with its dry corporate tweets that attempted to justify the early store openings.
@jennbrazen Kmart is staffing w/ teams & seasonal associates when possible, giving them opportunity to make extra money during holiday.
â€” Kmart (@Kmart) November 6, 2013
JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) attempted to dip its toes in social media by hosting a Twitter question and answer session using the hashtag “#AskJPM.” Instead of serious questions, the corporate bank received several questions mocking the financial firm.
â€” Eric Somerville (@EricSomerville) November 13, 2013
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) attempted to get Twitter users to share positive encounters with NYPD officers. Instead the NYPD received several tweets with images depicting alleged police brutality.
â€” NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 22, 2014
â€” DefendedInTheStreets (@KimaniFilm) April 22, 2014
Home Depot Racist Tweet
Home Depot (NYSE:HD) sent out a tweet in November that was supposed to celebrate College Game Day. But the tweet coupled with a picture sparked accusations of racism from Twitter users. The retailer eventually removed the tweet and issued an apology.
“We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive. The outside agency that created the Tweet and the Home Depot associate who posted it have been terminated. We're also closely reviewing our social media procedures to determine how this could have happened, and how to ensure it never happens again,” Home Depot told ABC News.