Celebrities, brands and the general public alike are prone to errors on social media which can easily go viral. As Jon Ronson’s book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed highlights, there is always a hate mob online ready to take down anyone who dares to make a mistake in the public eye – whether it be a misjudged or badly timed statement, or a line of sarcasm taken as a serious truth. Just when we all thought public shaming was a thing of the past, the internet happened and made it easier and more widespread than ever before.

So, what does a brand or celebrity social media error look like? Here are a couple of examples from 2016 of how not to do social media.

Body shaming: a celeb mistake

Model and Playboy bunny Dani Mathers publicly shared a Snapchat of a naked woman at the gym, accompanied by the words ‘If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either’ and a selfie of Mathers looking faux horrified with her hand over her mouth. This snap soon went viral, as her followers and then the general public were so shocked by the body-shaming nature of it. This has resulted in Mathers being banned from all LA Fitness gyms (where the photo was taken), losing her radio presenting job – not to mention the respect of many, and being charged by the Police. She did of course apologise after the event, but that fell on freshly outraged and therefore thoroughly deaf ears.

So, that’s a celebrity mistake, but what about brands? Perhaps you own a brand, or run the social media accounts for one. Here is how not to do it:

Mistaken identity: a brand mistake

There had already been much discussion in the media regarding the low attendance of black actors and actresses at this year’s Oscars, and then this terrible mistake of a tweet appeared on Total Beauty’s timeline:


#ThatsNotOprah was soon trending on Twitter, and the unfortunate tweet went viral. Total Beauty issued an apology soon afterwards, and also attempted to rectify the problem by donating $10,000 to Oprah and Whoopi’s charities of choice.

Lessons to be learnt from the mistakes of others

Proofread it! Whatever you are writing, wherever you are posting it – proofread it. Read through it on your screen, then print it out and read through it on paper too if it’s a particularly long post. Ask somebody else to look over it too. If you’re in a rush, at least ask somebody else to check it for spelling, grammar, and potentially brand-damaging blunders.

Featured image credit: B-D-S