The 8 Biggest Social Media Mistakes of 2016


At the end of the year, Cinnabon made the mistake of posting a tribute tweet about Carrie Fisher that many Twitter users labeled as tasteless. The backlash of that tweet inspired us to look back at some of the biggest social media mistakes of 2016.


Cinnabon: Carrie Fisher Tribute Tweet

Of course we’ll start with the now infamous Cinnabon tweet. Just after Fisher passed away, Cinnabon created a photo of Fisher, with cinnamon rolls in place of the iconic bun hairstyle from her Star Wars days. Many Twitter users, were not impressed, however, and saw it as a way to capitalize off of the celebrity’s death. Cinnabon was quick to remove the tweet and issued an apology, but damage had already been done.

carrie fisher cinnabon

Coca-Cola Offends Russians

Coca-Cola upset its Russian market when it used an outdated map of Russia in one of its campaigns. The map left out Kaliningrad, which was annexed after WWII. The company received major backlash: customers poured drinks down the toilet and popularized the hashtag #BanCocaCola.

russia coca cola

Vera Bradley: Why It’s Good to Be a Girl

With increasing acceptance and the movement toward greater gender equality, women are trying to break from their previous stereotypes. Unfortunately, Vera Bradley’s “Why It’s Good to Be a Girl” Campaign failed to meet this positive trend and got quickly called out for it. The goal of the campaign was to list the benefits of being a girl, however, these positives included accessorizing and being “treated like a lady.” Compare this to the feedback Always’ campaign “Like a Girl” received, promoting that women are more than their appearance or the way men treat them. Vera Bradley could have used its campaign to empower women, but unfortunately it took a few steps backwards.

good to be a girl

Microsoft: TayTweets

Microsoft was trying to show offits AI technology with TayTweets, but unfortunately trolls jumped all over that one, teaching the AI account to post all kinds of offensive tweets. Needless to say, the project didn’t last long. The account is now private on Twitter and the project has been paused.


Justice Department: Wrong Account

A user of The Justice Department’s official account made the mistake of posting on the wrong account when commenting on a news story. The tweet was deleted and that user’s privileges were revoked, but not before screenshots of the tweet were saved on numerous phones.

justice department melania

Republicans Inaccurately Slam Tammy Duckworth

The Republican party’s official Twitter account decided to share a post condemning Democrat Tammy Duckworth for not backing US Veterans, but there are some major issues with that. For one thing, Duckworth lost her legs serving in Iraq. And another, Duckworth worked as assistant secretary in the Department of Veteran Affairs.

tammy duckworth tweet

Total Beauty Mixes Up Celebrities

Online publication Total Beauty made a major mistake when it tweeted a photo of Whoopi Goldberg, but captioned the photo as Oprah. The tweet was pretty damaging and make it difficult to come back from.

total beauty whoopi

Miracle Mattress: 9/11 Sale

Not much has to be said about this social media mistake. Joking about an American tragedy will always result in bad brand perception. See video here.


Double-checking potential mistakes and remembering what consumers want are both techniques critical for your social accounts. With so many of these posts being avoidable, it could have saved the brands a lot of headaches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

by Linsey Stonchus

Categories: Blog, Social Media, Social Media Gone Wrong

Additional Blogs