US police force makes hash of social campaign

A Twitter campaign to boost the image of the New York Police Department (NYPD) has provoked a less than complimentary response from the Twitterati, after instances of police officers in compromising positions lit up the social platform.

The Big Apple force asked people to tweet pictures of themselves striking poses with its officers, using #myNYPD to create a tailored news feed. In example, the force posted a photo of two smiling officers with an unnamed member of the public.

Though many people did join in with the original plan, it was rather unsurprisingly taken over by those tweeting photos of less happy episodes.

Tagged images including police officers tackling the Occupy Wall Street protesters with batons raised and a man being pushed onto a car flooded the site.

While it was clear that many of the pictures used were not users’ own, with many coming from known image libraries, the campaign launched on Tuesday April 22nd was soon trending. It hit the global lists sometime on Wednesday morning, UK local time.

Fronting up to the debacle however, the NYPD did not shirk away from the actions that some of its officers were seen taking part in, releasing a statement saying:

“The NYPD 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.”

The move shows once again that although social media is a valuable and often untapped resource for organisations of all sizes, mistakes can be easily made.

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