Six random social media #FAILS

Think before you click. Facebook and Twitter used to be a place where people came together to vent, rant, complain and post funny pictures. Now a simple status update could cost you your job, draw negative attention to your brand and label you a failure online – forever.

Here are a few examples of stunning social media fails, point and laugh, but learn from their mistakes.

Social Media Management Fail – Scott Bartosiewicz

What he said:
“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive”

Chrysler Tweet

Why he got fired:
Digital agency New Media Strategy lost their contract with Chrysler after Scott Bartosiewicz accidentally sent out a personal tweet from Chrysler’s Twitter account (@ChryslerAutos), not just any tweet; he not only used vulgar language, but insulted the people of Detroit in the process. Bartosiewicz claimed he was frustrated on the way to work by a traffic jam, and decided to vent on Twitter, but the unfortunate tweet was sent from his client’s account. He blamed the mix up on a “software glitch” and is now looking to take legal action against TweetDeck.

Racism Fail – Matjamela Motluong
What he said:
“OK even when tries to remain civil there is always a Jew lurking and hoping to screw you UP, I am growing tired and irritated by how Black theatre producers have to be fucked over by WHITE mostly JEW producers in the South African Theatre Industry. It saddens me even more when BLACK writers/directors/actors succumb to this reverse holocaust, that is why we continue to die paupers and they are legends.”

Why he was fired:
It’s fairly obvious, theatre boss Matjamela Motluong’s anti-Semitic rant against Jewish producers left his peers horrified and was dismissed on the basis of hate speech. In an article on TimesLIVE, Johan Botes sums it up: “The golden rule for any employee thinking about sending a message or posting a comment on Facebook should be ‘If you would not like to see this message in the newspaper tomorrow, do not post it’.”

The incident has been cited in many legal articles to demonstrate the effects of offensive social media posts as South African law firms tackle a new angle of business law.

Facebook Status Update Fail – Christine Rubino

What she said:
“After today, I’m thinking the beach is a good trip for my class. I hate their guts,”

Why she got fired:
Besides being a nasty Facebook status update, Rubino referred to the death of 12 year old girl from Harlem who drowned at the beach during a class trip just a day before. A friend replied to her post asking: “Wouldn’t you throw a life jacket to little Kwami?”, to which she replied: “”No, I wouldn’t for a million dollars,”.

Insensitive Tweet Fail – Gilbert Gottfried

What he said:
“I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said ‘is there a school in this area.’ She said ‘not now, but just wait.”

One of the tweets that cost Gilbert Gottfried his job

Why he got fired:
The jokes were posted in the aftermath of the tragic earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011. Insurance company Aflac, with a majority of its clients in Japan, promptly sacked Gottfried as the voice of their mascot Aflac duck.

Brand Fail – Dr Pepper/Coca Cola

What they did:

The Dr Pepper campaign got Facebook fans to download an app to give up control of their Facebook status updates under the theme of their tagline “What’s the worst that can happen?” to stand a chance to win a £1,000 prize.

Why it failed:

The app updated the status of a 14 year old girl, and mentioned a hardcore porn movie on her behalf.

“I watched 2 girls one cup and felt hungry afterwards.”

The curious teenager searched for the title of the movie online, luckily her ISP had a child filter in place so she probably didn’t get to see any offensive videos. Coca Cola, in efforts to console the mother and daughter offered them tickets to a show in London! – Read the mother’s post on

Retweet Fail – Kevin Butler/Sony

What he said:
“Lemme guess…you sank my Battleship? RT @exiva: 46 DC EA D3 17 FE 45 D8 09 23 EB 97 E4 95 64 10 D4 CD B2 C2 Come at me, @TheKevinButler”

Why he failed:
What the account manager for the fictional Kevin Butler character hadn’t realised was that he/she had just retweeted the PS3 USB dongle ID generator key (jailbreak code) and not a set of Battleships coordinates. Before Sony could remove it, screenshots of the tweet were shared online on numerous forums.

To avoid being included in lists such as these in future, here are a few tips.

  • If you don’t want certain people to see your status update, do not post it, and never, ever rant about your job or clients on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Keep your personal Facebook and Twitter profiles on an entirely different social media account.
  • Don’t access work accounts from your personal mobile phone.
  • Read your tweets a few times over before posting.
  • Don’t update your status if you are drunk, upset, angry or frustrated, read them over again and cool off.

Do you have any nuggets of wisdom to share on this topic? Please contribute by posting a comment below.



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