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:
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 22, 2014
Instead, they started getting this:
— Ms. Wallen ? (@DSTKari) April 23, 2014
— Tim Eastman (@Tim_Eastman) April 22, 2014
— Fidel (@FSantigi) April 23, 2014
— Casey Aldridge (@CaseyJAldridge) April 22, 2014
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.”