Social Media Fails in 2013

Social media, whilst a great platform for communicating and networking, brings with it a million new ways to publicly embarrass yourself. This can be bad enough for an individual, but when a brand or notable person makes a social media faux pas, the results can be catastrophic. Here we look at ‘What Not To Do’.

1. EasyJet

This one only happened on 25th September 2013, slap bang in the middle of social media week. Oh the irony.  EasyJet, the low cost British airline, previously used the strap line “The Web’s Favourite Airline”.

They might want to re-think that one.

Here’s the situation – passenger Mark Leiser tweeted about a delayed flight:

Not 15 minutes later and he was then informed by an EasyJet staff member that he wasn’t allowed to board the flight:

Cue an almighty backlash for EasyJet.

Although EasyJet didn’t actually post any offending tweets in this situation, this situation shows how powerful social media is, and how seriously brands take being criticised on it.

That being said EasyJet’s alleged reaction to this tweet was way out of line here but this shows just how closely brands are checking their mentions on Twitter!

Scary stuff.

2. Tesco

Personally I don’t think this one is that bad and I commend Tesco for having the good humour to joke during such a turbulent time for their brand image. However for some people it was a bit too soon to joke after discovering they’d been eating horsemeat lasagne and burgers obliviously.

Of course out of context, this tweet doesn’t seem all that bad at all, but considering it was in the middle of a bit of a PR nightmare for Tesco, maybe not the best timing.

3. Su-Bo

Okay, Susan Boyle isn’t exactly a brand but this social media fail was too good to miss.

In order to drum up some interest in Susan’s latest album, her social media team decided to use a hashtag to get it trending.


Unsurprisingly, this did end up trending worldwide. I don’t understand how this unfortunate hashtag could have been missed by Su-Bo’s PR staff.

In fact I have a sneaking suspicion this may have been PR genius to get #susanalbumparty trending.

Susan has sold over 17 million albums worldwide so she’s the one laughing in the end!

4. Chrysler

This shows just how dangerous things like HootSuite can be in the wrong hands. This unfortunate tweet came from someone working in social media for Chrysler and is clearly a case of tweeting from the wrong account. When one of the accounts you’re managing is that of a world-wide brand, with a stellar reputation like Chrysler, it’s always best to double check who you are tweeting as.

I can only imagine the panic the person who wrote this must have felt when they realised. Not only that, but said author of the off-colour Tweet actually lost their job over this.

Like I said in my previous post about the rules of social media, once something is out there, it’s out there for all to see.

Be careful!

5. HMV

Whilst these tweets go against almost every social media rule, you can sympathise with HMV staff as this was when the company was facing shut down. I love their creative hashtag of #hmvXFactorFiring but you can imagine the marketing team having meltdowns reading these!

Top tip – if planning on firing your social media team, it’s maybe a good idea to remove their access to social media first:

However HMV ended up being saved… which makes these tweets 10 times more awkward. Good on those who had the guts to tweet this though, I can only imagine what EasyJet would do if they caught one of their staff criticizing them like this!

Have you suffered any embarrassing social media fails? Tweet us @ThisIsParachute and let us know so we can laugh with/at you.


About the Author

Caitlin Linskey is our superstar social media intern, and she assures us that she has never Tweeted anything embarrassing. Yet.

Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Photo Credit: Amboo213 via Flikr CC