HabitatUK apologises for Twitter hashtag issue

Posted on June 24th 2009

The post I did a few days ago, How not to use Twitter HabitatUK a case study, hit a chord on Social Media Today. It was the most viewed post  (more than 22,000 views, 41 comments and 636 RTs, as of this morning)  and it obviously struck a chord with the Twitter community as it was tweeted about for days. It was picked up by the Guardian and Sky News. As a consequence, the Habitat press office contacted me this week to apologise for the matter, and asked me to post this on their behalf. Here's what they said:

I know people have been waiting for a response tweet from us; we are treating this very seriously and wanted to offer a longer message. We have been reading everyone's comments carefully and would like to make a very sincere apology to any Twitter users who were offended.

The top ten trending topics were pasted into hashtags without checking with us and apparently without verifying what all of the tags referred to. This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat. We were shocked when we discovered what happened and are very sorry for the offence that was caused. This is totally against our communications strategy. We never sought to abuse Twitter, have removed the content and will ensure this does not happen again.

It has been really valuable to hear how users would like us to use Twitter and we are determined to do better for the Twitter community.

Claire
Habitat Head Office
London


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Comments

Habitat_Press_Office
Posted on June 24th 2009 at 5:57PM
In response to speculation, we would like to clarify – this was not done by an agency. The hashtags were uploaded without Habitat’s authorisation by an overenthusiastic intern who did not fully understand the ramifications of his actions. He is no longer associated with Habitat.
JamesGurd
Posted on June 25th 2009 at 1:54PM
Agree with Ben that the last statement from the press office comes across as washing hands of responsibility. It is their responsibility to train & educate interns and make sure they understand the impact of their actions.The last statement comes across really badly. The intern made a mistake but so did you by giving them responsibility for Twitter which has huge attention at the moment. Getting rid of them after one mistake is worrying - how would you feel if the whole twitter community blacklisted Habitat because of the mistake your business made? Really poor PR.

Mistakes get made but it did not come across malicious. Why so draconian a response?

When did the world get so serious and over-react at every sign of a problem? We all need to get a grip, there are more serious issues out there to worry about, such as the election situation in Iran. Hashtag anyone??
:)
theprlab
Posted on June 29th 2009 at 10:29PM
Or was it just a PR ploy to get noticed? And yes, people, get a grip.
MinervaRogers
Posted on March 27th 2010 at 1:37PM
Oh that's kind of swell that they apologized. Poor intern for taking on the blame. Next time, they shouldn't let interns take charge of their social media accounts. Else they'll end up being scoffed at.

Health Talk and You | Zacquisha
Posted on September 2nd 2010 at 7:04PM

This is exactly what happens when interns aren't trained properly.  Even though what the intern did is rightly frowned upon, Habitat should be ashamed for putting the blame on a kid when it was their responsibility for training that individual in the first place.

Posted on September 2nd 2010 at 7:05PM

This is exactly what happens when interns aren't trained properly.  Even though what the intern did is rightly frowned upon, Habitat should be ashamed for putting the blame on a kid when it was their responsibility for training that individual in the first place.

Posted on October 21st 2010 at 6:09AM

Some of these comments people are saying here on this issue really seem to make me look at this in a whole new way. I do enjoy the responses though. david

Posted on December 10th 2010 at 10:06AM
Granted, often these are "loose" policies that basically provide guidelines and overall policy reminders. That may indeed be the best approach. Leave the people free for an emerging technology/space/paradigm while providing some basic guidance. 220-702