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CNN #AskACop Live TV Fail
By: Jessica Cherok
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Creating a hashtag can be a tricky thing; even trickier when your hashtag centers around a controversial topic and live television.

On Monday of this week, CNN created #AskACop on Twitter to go along with its “Cops Under Fire” show. The town hall–style show featured a panel of police officers, and asked viewers to tweet their questions.

Not surprisingly, it didn’t go like CNN would have liked, forcing the show’s host and network to pretend they didn’t see the harshest of the tweets. While those tweets were kept from the panel and television viewers, the criticisms raged on Twitter.

CNN isn’t the first company to fall victim to a poorly thought out hashtag. McDonald’s infamously filled the Twittersphere with negativity with its #McDStories. The hashtag was supposed to encourage people to share their happy McDonald’s memories, but instead became a dumping ground for poor service, dirty restaurants, and bad food. The fast-food chain quickly pulled the campaign shortly after its launch.

Certainly hashtags can bring people together and create a lot of buzz around a brand, but the ones that backfire can bring the wrong kind of attention. CNN has made no public comment about the #AskACop hashtag and the resulting backlash.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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