It's hard to remember a time when we didn't all know exactly what celebrities and businesses were thinking--or at least what they want us to think they're thinking--just by opening up Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram. In fact, this year introduced us to the concept of the 3AM Donald Trump tweet.
But in 2016, not all social media posts were winners. In fact, some were catastrophic. Because, as it turns out, corporations are people too. So with the year coming to an end, let's remember some of the year's biggest social media snafus and make room for whatever social media disasters will entertain us in 2017!
8. When Coca-Cola didn't understand geography
All Coca-Cola wanted to do was wish everyone a happy new year, but instead the company pissed off a lot of people—most notably, in Russia and the Ukraine.
A brief backstory: The Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula was annexed (some say illegally) by Moscow in March 2014 and continues to be a huge part of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis today.
So you'd think the marketing department would have paid a little more attention to the intense geographical situation before posting a new year’s message on VK, the most popular Russian social media network. Coca-Cola published a map of Russia that didn't include Crimea. Whoopsie.
The company pulled the ad, offered an apology and released a second version of the map that included Crimea, unleashing a major firestorm in the Ukraine.
Coca-Cola should probably just keep things simple this year and perhaps not release snow-covered cartoon maps of countries.
7. When DC Comics thought Pakistanian was a language
DC Comics posted a photo online of a comic saying it had been translated from "Pakistanian." Only one problem: Pakistanian isn't an actual language. Or really anything, actually. The official language of Pakistan is Urdu. Of course, Twitter users were quick to point out the error.
A little more research next time, DC!
6. The time MTV Australia was super racist
Whoever was running the MTV Australia Twitter account must have forgotten to not be racist during the airing of the Golden Globes. Asking, "Where are the English subtitles" as America Ferrera and Eva Longoria were speaking probably wasn't the best idea. In fact, it may have been the worst idea.
MTV was referring to the joke Ferrera and Longoria made about being confused for other Latina actresses. but it didn't matter. The damage had been done.
5. When a Microsoft bot forgot Asimov's Three Laws
Microsoft created an "AI" Twitter bot, which was designed to learn from its users through conversation. It seems like a fun little experiment, but in less than a day, internet trolls turned Tay the bot into a racist jerk. Becuase, well, what did you expect would happen?
Microsoft responded by deleting the tweet. It took six months for the company to try again with a new chatbot on Kik named Zo.
4. The time a mattress company tried to make money off of 9/11
Companies typically offer sales during big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, but San Antonio-based Miracle Mattress decided it would be a good idea to peg a sale to the anniversary of 9/11. And it was possibly the most offensive, insensitive, ridiculous ad ever made.
In the ad, store manager Cherise Bonanno encourages customers to “remember 9/11” and “get any size mattress for a twin price.” This obviously didn't sit well with...anyone. The company's owner Mike Bonanno posted an apology letter on Facebook.
That didn't really go over well either, so the company shut down for a short period of time. No word on how sales are doing now (but we can take a guess).
3. Seoul Secret determined that having white skin "makes you win"
Someone over at beauty brand Seoul Secret in Thailand really believed the tagline “White makes you win” to promote skin-lightening cosmetics was a good idea.
Of course, the ad has since been removed and the campaign was shut down, but the video showed actress and singer Chris Horwang discussing her career and how her white skin helped her become successful.
Naturally, people weren't on board. So the company offered an apology.
But the damage had already been done.
2. When the Justice Department made a whoopsie
During the Republican National Convention in July, the someone with access to the U.S. Justice Department's Twitter account tweeted a link to Melania Trump's speech—you know, the one that was super similar to Michelle Obama's speech. The tweet called CNN the "biggest troll of them all." The story was about the fact that no one was going to be fired for the plagiarism.
As it turns out, a Justice Department staffer accidentally sent the tweet from the department's account rather than a personal account.
We totally get it. After all, here at Techwalla once or twice we've accidentally "liked" a Techwalla Facebook post as Techwalla rather than using our own personal account.
1. ALDI Australia asked customers to fill in the blank, and naturally, things got out of hand
If ALDI Australia wanted to attract all the Twitter trolls, it's safe to say this campaign was a success. But we have a feeling that wasn't the intent. The supermarket chain posted an image on Twitter that read, "I became an ALDI lover when I tasted __ for the first time."
Yeah, you can probably imagine how that went.