Nothing goes unseen on the internet. And as more entrepreneurs and brands are learning, a seemingly minor stumble on a social platform has the power to do everything from shake stock prices to inspire massive protests.
Here's a roundup of some of the biggest corporate social media blunders of 2018.
1. Jeff Bezos's ill-timed vacation tweet
From accusations of poor warehouse conditions to employee strikes over low wages, Amazon has had a year. On Earth Day (April 22), Jeff Bezos started a firestorm when he tweeted about dog sledding in Norway. People were quick to respond on Twitter that not everyone was out sledding in Norway. Comedian Sarah Silverman reminded the entrepreneur about his employees who depend on food stamps and government assistance.
In October, Amazon raised the minimum wages of its U.S. warehouse workers to $15 after facing a wave of critics and media backlash.
Dog sledding above the Arctic Circle in Norway. Jim Lovell says it's not that you go to heaven when you die, but "you go to heaven when you're born." Earth is the best planet in our solar system. We go to space to save the Earth. @BlueOrigin #NoPlanB #GradatimFerociter #EarthDay pic.twitter.com/q0Y9A4KSLm-- Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 22, 2018
2. Miele knows what gets women excited: laundry appliances
For International Women's Day, German appliances manufacturer Miele shared a photo on Facebook that reaffirmed a 1950s-era stereotype: four white women looking excited over a washer and dryer. The company deleted the Facebook post a few hours later.
3. The insensitive Snapchat ad that cost the company $800 million
An ad for a game called "Would You Rather?" ran on Snapchat asking users whether they would want to slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown, alluding to the 2009 incident when Brown physically assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna, to which he pleaded guilty.
Rihanna called out Snapchat on her Instagram Stories, stating: "Now Snapchat, I know you already know you ain't my fav app out there! But I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess. I'd love to call it ignorance but I know you ain't that dumb!" She also condemned Snapchat for being ignorant about victims of domestic abuse. The company lost $800 million in market value as a result.
Is it just me, or is this ad that popped up on my Snapchat extremely tone deaf? Like what were they thinking with this? pic.twitter.com/7kP9RHcgNG-- VOTE IN THE DECEMBER 4 GA RUNOFF!!! (@TheRoyceMann) March 12, 2018
4. Critics take a cheery Lockheed Martin tweet request and run with it
The world's biggest arms manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, asked its followers in August to share a photo of one of its products for #WorldPhotoDay, prompting a backlash on Twitter.
Amid the heated conversations about gun control, users responded by showing their awareness of violence happening around the world. For instance, one user posted a photo of a fragment of a bomb used to destroy a school in Yemen. Lockheed Martin deleted the tweet two hours later.
5. Dolce & Gabbana faces a backlash after racist Instagram messages
The fashion brand ran a campaign video that featured a Chinese woman struggling to eat Italian food with chopsticks. Users were quick to call out the ad for being tone deaf and racist. Then, leaked screen captures of private Instagram messages from Italian designer Stefano Gabbana revealed that he'd made derogatory comments about Chinese people. The brand canceled its fashion show in China, and the designer has since apologized--though only after fashion platforms like Net-a-Porter and JD.com dropped the line.