People are fallible, and that’s fine. Except unless that error has been sent out to hundreds or thousands, if not millions of people. This is what happens to Twitter users who, in their haste to communicate a message or react to a news of the day, tweet something that elicits a collective cringe.
A Case for Deleting Tweets — and an Entire Account
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Some people tend to tweet and not think, resulting in posts that aren’t fit for consumption anywhere and prompting users to demand that a tweet be deleted.
Take for example the disgraced representative from the 9th district of New York, Anthony Weiner, whose deleted tweets are like a timeline to his journey in becoming a registered sex offender. The former congressman and failed mayoral candidate went on Twitter thinking he was sending a private message to someone when he tweeted a photo of his junk on May 2011. He was not. And plenty of folks saw the politician the way no constituent should.
The ex-politico apologized publicly for his salacious behavior (and was likely given an introduction to using Twitter). But in 2016, Weiner would figure in another sexting scandal involving a minor, which led to a year in prison. Fortunately for him and his family, Weiner learned how to delete a Twitter account before he went in the slammer. So the lewd-ventures of Weiner is no longer fodder for internet users.
But the world is filled with sticky hands and thoughtless words.
You can go on different online platforms to find deleted tweets that may have made the headlines or became the topic of fevered discussion online. From Wayback Machine for Twitter to twipu.com, you could spend your time pulling up other people’s deleted posts on the microblogging site.
But if all of that seems like too much work, scroll through these notorious tweets that are no more.
See These Deleted Tweets
It Sounded Like a Good Idea in My Head
Dr. Phil has become famous for “telling it like it is” when getting people to acknowledge their issues. And in doing so, the clinical psychologist turned TV host intends to bring about an epiphany that leads to life changing decisions. But a poll question on Dr. Phil’s Twitter account
gave a different kind of pause. The questionable tweet immediately drew flak, with some creating a satire through #DrPhilQuestions.
Dr. Phil quickly deleted the tweet, calling it “ill-advised.” The show’s producers clarified the offending tweet wasn’t written by Dr. Phil.
Ignorance is Not Bliss
Mass shootings happen at an uncomfortable frequency in the US, and every news outlet is going to be covering one on rotation. Perhaps the clueless author of this poorly written post didn’t realize why precisely #Aurora was trending at the time. The brand is London-based. Or maybe that person did know what was going on and thought, “There’s a golden marketing opportunity!”
Incidentally, Aurora was trending then because James Holmes went into a movie theater (in Aurora, CO) during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Holmes opened fire at the moviegoers, killing 12 people and wounding 70.
The brand and its PR agency apologized, explaining how they didn’t check why the hashtag was trending.
So here’s why it’s not only important to know if you can edit a tweet, but also to actually find out why a hashtag may be trending. If you posted first before doing research, you can always go back to your account, delete the original post and then edit a tweet that won’t reveal ignorance of a subject matter.
Co-Opting a Tragedy
And speaking of brands that cross the line, Kenneth Cole has done a similar bit — twice. In 2011, the designer seemingly approved a tweet that promoted his Spring line, referencing the deadly clashes in Cairo. Much like #Aurora, #Cairo was trending at the time because of the mass protests in Egypt. Hundreds died, thousands were injured.
Cole soon apologized after the ill-timed tweet drew flak.
But it seems the brand didn’t learn its lesson two years later when it attempted to promote its footwear line amid a tense situation in Syria. America, at the time, was contemplating sending troops on suspicion of the government using chemical weapons on its people.
And finally, the widely criticized and rightfully so, the infamous deleted tweet from Chase Bank. It presented a hypothetical conversation between a customer and its bank. It’s an imaginary conversation that many called as “poor-shaming.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren reminded Chase Bank that its parent company, JP Morgan, received $25 billion in taxpayer money as part of a bailout in 2008. Suffice to say the lecture about budgeting didn’t go over well. Rep. Katie Porter tweeted that the bank’s apology should be called #ToneDeafTuesday.
Where Do Deleted Tweets Go?
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Deleted tweets never really go away. Those who have the right tools and know-how may still be able to access what someone has deleted. You may try to clean up your past, taking out those teenage tweets. But how deep can you really scrub the past?
A better option would be to think about what your sending out into the Twitter-verse before clicking “Tweet.” This is especially crucial if you’re in charge of posting for a brand or on Twitter because of your business.
Take a lesson from these notorious tweets. And prevent some curious body from trying to scour the web to see your deleted tweets.