An official Huawei Twitter account (@Huawei) has been caught sending its celebratory New Year’s message from an iPhone. It was quickly picked up by the vlogger MKBHD on his own Twitter feed. A Reuters report claims that the employees responsible for this mishap had been fined and sanctioned by the company, as it “damaged the Huawei brand”.
by Deirdre O Donnell, 2019/01/05
@Huawei, an official company Twitter account, send a message wishing its followers a “Happy #2019” from the electronics OEM. A charming little display of corporate goodwill, perhaps; however, it quickly went wrong for the firm, especially for the employees who approved the message. It quickly became apparent that they had not used an own-brand device to send the Tweet, but had in fact used an iPhone instead. This message, sent at 23:31 on December 31, was quickly spotted for what it was by the YouTuber MKBHD.
Huawei is now an international brand, and probably benefits from communicating in international terms. However, it is also still a Chinese company, and as such needs VPNs to gain access to equally global platforms, Twitter included. Huawei has indicated to Reuters reporters that its outsourced social media service, Sapient, had lost access to its own VPN at the time the Tweet was sent. Therefore, this organization resorted to using an iPhone with a roaming-enabled SIM to get it sent on time.
Nevertheless, this mis-step resulted in punitive action against two employees deemed responsible for it. Both staff members were reportedly demoted by one rank within the firm, and have had their salaries reduced by about US$728 (or 5000 yuan) per month. The company announced that it has also barred one of the employees, a digital marketing director, from any possible pay increases for a year.
The Twitter account’s New Year’s message subsequently re-appeared on its timeline in the course of January 1, minus the offending client tag. This is not the first time Huawei has been caught using content created on off-brand devices, but may be the first time the consequences for individual employees was made so public. Presumably, everyone in the company will be more careful about the devices they use for their official work in the future.