#MYNYPD Twitter Campaign Quickly Backfires on NYPD

An innocuous callout for positive engagement quickly deteriorated into a PR nightmare.

Posted: 04/23/2014 02:30 PM EDT

(Photo: NYPD News via Twitter)

The New York Police Department opened a major can of worms Tuesday when they tweeted a callout, asking people to share photos taken with NYPD officers and use the hashtag #myNYPD.

What followed instead from a number of Twitter users, including the Occupy Wall Street movement, was an onslaught of sarcastic, sobering and even gory photos displaying apparent police brutality and shooting victims like Amadou Diallo.

According to The Guardian, more than 70,000 people had tweeted and posted hundreds of these images at a rate of 10,000 an hour by midnight on Tuesday.

"You might not have known this, but the NYPD can help you with that kink in your neck #myNYPD," tweeted one user. The accompanying photo showed an NYPD officer using his knee to pin a man down by his neck while another officer restrained the man's wrist. 

The Occupy Wall Street movement tweeted an Associated Press photograph showing an action shot of an officer wielding his baton as if about to strike a masked civilian. "Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time. #myNYPD," read the tweet.

Police officials declined to reveal who was behind the hashtag idea or comment on the failed campaign, but a short statement was released. 

"The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community," Kim Royster, an NYPD spokeswoman told the New York Daily News. "Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city."

JP Morgan received a similar wave of criticism last November when the bank launched a live Twitter Q&A with a bank executive using the hashtag #AskJPM. McDonald's #McStories campaign also faced a Twitter-bashing in 2012.

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