10 tech company social media bloopers

Social media blunders are nothing new, and the technology industry is not immune to them. Here's proof.

It’s been quite the month for corporate social media activity. Both Burger King and Jeep have seen their Twitter accounts hijacked, with hilarious results. Meanwhile, Google’s attempt to stir up genuine conversation around its Google Glass project saw some negative feedback. Some brands are even pretending to have their accounts hacked simply for the publicity. But social media blunders are nothing new, and the technology industry is not immune to them.

RELATED: Twitter calls for smarter password habits following Jeep, Burger King hacks

ASUS’s sexist Tweet
ASUSs sexist Tweet

To debut its new Transformer AIO all-in-one PC, ASUS coordinated a big promotional effort at Computex 2012 in Taiwan last June. At some point, someone with access to the corporate Twitter account tweeted a photo of the woman displaying the PC at its booth, along with a comment many considered sexist. The company apologized shortly thereafter.

Microsoft v. Ann Coulter
Credit: Twitter user @Mobtivate, via The Blaze
Microsoft v. Ann Coulter

Conservative political commentator Ann Coulter is no stranger to controversy. This past September, she was on the receiving end after a Microsoft employee mistakenly used the corporate Twitter account to insult Coulter’s intelligence. Microsoft apologized, but Coulter didn’t let the event go by without taking her shots. “Good to see Microsoft is employing people experienced in state-of-the-art social media,” Coulter told the Daily Caller.

Credit: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
Fitbit exposes users sexual habits

Fitness tech startup Fitbit sells small wearable devices that monitor users’ exercise, including sexual activity. To drive usage, the company set the devices’ social setting to public by default, making all information the device monitored public. Tech journalists had a field day when it was discovered in 2011 that Fitbit had made some users’ apparently “moderate effort” at sexual activity available via Google search.

Homeless Hotspots
Credit: via Buzzfeed
Homeless Hotspots

In a real-life PR disaster made public via social media, marketing firm BBH Labs launched a campaign that involved attaching wireless hotspot hardware to homeless people in Austin during the 2012 South by Southwest festival. The homeless people, whom the BBH employee who devised the idea later admitted were “suddenly just hardware,” were to keep all the money people paid for access to the hotspots. Nevertheless, the company quickly took a beating via social media.

GoDaddy CEO shoots an elephant
GoDaddy CEO shoots an elephant

Although the domain hosting company is known for stirring up controversy with its ads, GoDaddy’s CEO Bob Parsons generated some unwanted attention when he tweeted a video he took while shooting what he called a “problem elephant” in Zimbabwe in 2011. At one point in the video, local villagers were shown wearing baseball caps with the GoDaddy logo.

Belkin pays for positive Amazon reviews
Belkin pays for positive Amazon reviews

Connectivity device manufacturer Belkin, perhaps best known for its Wi-Fi router, was at the center of an ecommerce scandal in 2009 when Engadget published a screenshot of a job post offering money for positive reviews of Belkin products on Amazon. Engadget even pinpointed the person responsible – Belkin business development representative Michael Bayard – and prompted a response and apology from the company.

Cisco giveth, Cisco taketh away
Cisco giveth, Cisco taketh away

In a role reversal, Cisco exposed a would-be employee’s social media blunder in 2009. After receiving a job offer from the company, the interviewee weighed the option on Twitter, declaring “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” A Cisco representative responded via Twitter, ensuring the interviewee that the company can still change its mind.

Zuckerberg’s Facebook privacy invaded
Zuckerbergs Facebook privacy invaded

In December 2011, photos Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had posted only to his private Facebook account surfaced on the image sharing site Imgur with a comment: “It’s time to fix those security flaws Facebook.” The hackers used Facebook’s own system for reporting explicit material to gain access to the photos. Facebook only patched the exploit after a photo of its CEO holding a chicken upside down was made public.

Zuckerberg’s sister leaks private photos
Credit: via Forbes Ryan Mac
Zuckerbergs sister leaks private photos

Just over a year later, a photo of a Zuckerberg family get-together made its way to Twitter. The Facebook CEO’s older sister Randi, who thought she posted the photos only to her private account, asked a Twitter user how she had gotten access to it. Later, when it was revealed that she had simply mixed up her privacy settings, the issue served as a prime example of Facebook’s complicated privacy policies.

Nokia’s awkward party invitation
Credit: USA Today
Nokias awkward party invitation

Nokia held a pre-party at this year’s ESPY awards and wanted everyone to know about it. So Nokia enlisted a PR agency to ask professional athletes to Tweet one specific message: “Chillin at the @ESPYS #NokiaPreParty. It’s awesome.” What it didn’t expect was every athlete to tweet the exact same message, sometimes without removing the request to tweet it.