Hashtag #Fail

I love spontaneous protests, particularly when they happen in cyberspace:

An exercise in social media outreach turned #epicfail Tuesday when users flooded the Twittersphere with some of the NYPD’s most infamous moments of brutality.

The NYPD, through its Twitter page, innocuously asked people on to post pictures of themselves interacting with New York’s Finest — complete with the hashtag myNYPD.

But instead of happy pictures of cops posing with tourists and helping out locals, Twitter erupted with hundreds of photos of police violence, including Occupy Wall Street arrests and the 84-year-old man who was bloodied for jaywalking on the Upper West Side earlier this year.

Just before midnight, more than 70,000 people had posted comments on Twitter decrying police brutality, slamming the NYPD for the social media disaster and recalling the names of people shot to death by police. It was the top trending hashtag on Twitter by late Tuesday, replacing #HappyEarthDay.

Police officials wouldn’t respond to questions about the negative comments or say who was behind the Twitter outreach. They released a short statement on Tuesday evening, when users were posting more than 10,000 tweets an hour.

“The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community,” said Kim Royster, an NYPD spokeswoman. “Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.”
Twitter users had plenty to say.

“Free massages from the #NYPD,” read one of the Occupy Wall Street tweets, which showed a young man being smashed into the trunk of a car by three cops in riot gear.

Nice PR move.

What do you think?