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Social Media Horror Stories to Make You Scream


Social media gone wrong can be a real fright fest! From petrifying public relations to terrifyingly tone-deaf posts, we’ve rounded up our top three social media horror stories in anticipation of Halloween 2018. Turn down the lights, hide under the blankets, and try not to scream…

Paranormal Social Activity

What Happened:

On a dark, dark day in a dark, dark office, after receiving some dark, dark news, a group of disgruntled HMV employees took to social media to vent their anger and distress. Like all good horror stories, this one starts with a “mass execution” (of employees) and tells the tale of 60 fired staff members from HMV’s HR department who decided to live Tweet their sacking direct from the brand’s official twitter account: @hmvtweets

Pictured here, in reverse order (read from bottom to top!) are the Tweets which were soon deleted when the remaining HMV staff regained control of the social media account.

What We’d Have Done:

Employees gone rogue is one of the key risks of managing your company’s social media in-house. When emotions run high – during a mass firing for example – your social media can suffer. If it’s imperative that your staff have direct access to your social media accounts, we’d always recommend taking precautions such as changing passwords or revoking access before any changes to the structure of the company that could potentially upset employees. We also suggest ensuring all social media managers sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement with regards to internal operations so the threat of legal action will discourage any thoughts of social media hijacking.

Nightmare on Ramsay Street

What Happened:

Once upon a time there was an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares that featured a business called Amy’s Baking Company. This episode was one of few where the owners’ poor business management, bad behaviour, and mistreatment of staff prevented Ramsay from completing the company’s transformation. The Baking Company received a lot of negative attention on social media as a result of this and the owners responded to it poorly, to say the least.

What We’d Have Done:

The most important thing a company can do in the middle of a PR nightmare is to lean in instead of pushing back. It’s vital to listen to what the public is saying, even if you don’t agree with it. Encouraging user engagement and using tools like polls and external surveys to ask followers what the company could be doing differently shows the company is willing to grow. In the case of Amy’s Baking Company, their brand image needed some serious TLC. We would develop a new image for the company by coming up with a brand voice that encompassed the changes the public wanted to see. We’d outline a set of positive ideologies for the company to aspire to and we’d make sure all future messaging communicated these.

The Snapcorsist

What Happened:

This unfortunate tale concerns a Snapchat advert that featured singer/businesswoman Rihanna and rapper Chris Brown. It’s common knowledge that Chris Brown was charged with, and convicted for, felony assault in 2009 as a result of domestic violence towards his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. Fast forward to 2018 where Snapchat users were asked to vote in a poll featuring the question: “Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?”

The advert was seen to be making light of victims of domestic violence and was met with a very negative reception across almost all social media channels which caused Snapchat to remove it and issue an apology.

What We’d Have Done:

Snapchat did the right thing by pulling the advert and issuing an apology but it’s worth asking why this ad even aired in the first place. As the Tweet above points out, social media adverts go through an approval process and, yes, Snapchat shouldn’t have let this slip through but the accountability should really lie with the company that created the ad in the first place. We here at Platform81 always double check our content for sensitivity issues and we also recommend running content by a third party for a “fresh pair of eyes” just in case. Our advice is to do your research – even when you don’t think you need to – err on the side of caution and try to look at content from all angles and view-points to ensure you’re not being insensitive to wider social issues.