Police Social Media Plans Backfires (From our “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file)

The New York Police Department is putting on a brave face after its efforts to use social medial to build a positive public image backfired.

According to Reuters News Service, the NYPD launched a hopeful social media campaign in April, inviting Twitter users to submit to #mynypd pictures of themselves with New York’s finest and offering to post some of the submitted pictures to the Department’s Facebook page.

However, within less than 24 hours, the hashtag had been tweeted more than 94,000 times, with most tweets showing images of alleged police brutality and violence against citizens. By the next day, the negative viral campaign had grown to include other police departments around the country, including Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

William Bratton, the New York Police Commissioner who was appointed to the office earlier this year, acknowledged that “the reality of policing is that oftentimes our actions are lawful, but they look awful.” Nonetheless, Bratton said that he would continue the Twitter campaign, encouraging New Yorkers to “send us your photos, good or bad.”