Chinese phone maker Huawei has demoted two of its employees after they were found to have tweeted New Year greetings from an iPhone. The tweet was posted via Huawei’s official Twitter account, which was a huge embarrassment to the Chinese phone maker.
The tweet, which had since been deleted by the company, already garnered 14 retweets and 69 likes before it was hurriedly taken down by the company. However, some tech blogs including 9to5google had already obtained a screenshot as seen below.
In a memo obtained by Reuters and Bloomberg, the company’s corporate senior vice-president and director of the board Chen Lifang said, “the incident caused damage to the Huawei brand.”
Explaining how the problem occurred in a memo seen by Reuters, the company said an outsourced social media handler Sapient experienced “VPN problems” with a desktop computer and had to use an iPhone that has a roaming SIM card in order to send the tweet on time at midnight.
Huawei like several other Twitter users in China, depend on VPN to access the platform in order to send their tweets. As of today, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks remain banned in China—leaving people with no other options but to access those services via VPNs.
In the memo, Huawei said the gaffe showed procedural incompliance and oversight on the part of management. Two employees have been demoted as a result of the blunder, while their monthly salaries have been reduced by $728.27 or 5,000 yuan.
Another person said to have been affected by the decision taken by the Chinese phone maker is the digital marketing director. His salaries, according to Reuters, will be frozen for 12 months.
Huawei is not the first company to make a gaffe as big as this on the social media; Samsung, the South Korean phone maker was called out last December for posting a Galaxy Note 9 promotion via Twitter for iPhone.
Obviously, issues like this is difficult to sweep beneath the carpet based on the fact that Huawei is Apple’s biggest rival in China. The damage done to the reputation of the Chinese phone maker is one that may take a longer time to fix.
In most cases when issues like this happen, Apple is always the big beneficiary. Huawei recently overtook Apple as the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer by volume between January to September.
Some would argue that Huawei’s action was a step taken too far, but looking at it from the business perspective, one just has to feel for the Chinese phone maker.