NYPD Twitter contest turns into a PR disaster

If there’s a lesson in here, it’s that just because you create a hashtag, doesn’t mean you own it.

In an effort to boost its image and social media presence, The New York Police Department asked Twitter to post pictures of citizens with NYPD police officers, under the hashtag #mYNYPD. What they were expecting was happy, smiling pictures of New Yorkers hanging out with their friendly neighborhood policemen. Sort of like this:

Instead, they started getting this:

Users responded to the hashtag with pictures of police brutality and excessive force being used by the NYPD, often with sarcastic captions about how much the cops were helping ordinary citizens with their problems. The backlash got so bad, the NYPD was forced to respond with a statement, which it did this morning, desperately trying to put a postive spin on things.

“The N.Y.P.D. is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.” 

OK then.

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