When Social Media Attacks! NYPD Hashtag Fails, Backfires

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by Spencer Brown

The hashtag. Where would we be without it?! It connects social media users around the world by aggregating all the content mentioning the tagged word(s). Hashtags are great for events and when news breaks, everyone is able to see and understand what it’s like on the ground as it happens. And beyond their utility, hashtags are great fun to use in conversation to confuse and sometimes anger the less-savvy user. Just ask Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, who regularly creates hashtags that trend globally for his show, and even brings celebrities in on the fun.

But recently when the New York Police Department created the hashtag #MyNYPD, things did not go as planned. It was intended as an outreach campaign to involve the citizens in recognizing the work of the NYPD by having them take photos with officers around the city, but instead turned into an avenue for New Yorkers to post unflattering photos of the NYPD in action.

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