During the Super Bowl, Coca-Cola aired a TV commercial based on turning negative things into positive things and branded it with the #MakeItHappy hashtag.

They continued this campaign on Twitter which used an automatic algorithm to turn negative tweets into pictures of happy things. In a press release, Coca-Cola said it wanted to “tackle the pervasive negativity polluting social media feeds and comment threads across the internet”. Gawker, decided to have some fun with this and exploit the automated tweets Coca-Cola was producing.  Gawker tricked it into tweeting large chunks of the introduction to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The bot, made by Gawker’s editorial labs director (Adam Pash), got Coke to tweet the words “My father was a civil servant who fulfilled his duty very conscientiously” which was formed into the shape of a pirate ship.   As of Wednesday, the campaign was suspended entirely on Twitter.

In a statement to AdWeek, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola said: “The #MakeItHappy message is simple: the internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It’s unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn’t.”  The statement ended: “Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign.”

This isn’t new.  This happens a lot, way too much with companies setting up auto RT’s and favorites of anyone who mentions their brand. Twitter CEO was very embarrassed over this but as long as companies continue to try and do things automatic with bots and algorithms, there will always be someone who finds a way to ruin it.  There is nothing better than having a human monitoring and engaging on Twitter. Bots can’t distinguish between genuine and sarcasm.  Anytime you use a computer to do what should be human interaction and engagement, you will run the risk of it being exploited.

Was what Gawker did a dick thing? Yeah, it was.  Will it shed light into why a company should never use bots for Twitter in the future? Hopefully.


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