Amid Taiwan row over officer's helicopter pictures, six other social media bloopers remembered

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 April, 2015, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 April, 2015, 3:30pm

The story this week of a military officer in Taiwan being put under investigation for posting images on Facebook of his family and friends having a fun day out at restricted areas of a military base in Taoyuan, including images taken inside Apache helicopters  is a  reminder of the pitfalls of social media.

While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great ways to connect and share information – on a personal and professional  level –  this incident and others in recent years show how badly some posts can backfire.

In 2014,  the New York Police Department got more than it bargained for when it invited people to post images of friendly cops on the department’s website in a campaign aimed at boosting its damaged image as well as its attempt to get social-media savvy. Instead of  good-cop posts,  online trolls played the bad cop card, tweeting images depicting police brutality.

In December 2014, Instagram images of medical staff at a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul, South Korea, made headlines because they showed medical staff partying in an operating theatre, including one picture of a staff member in scrubs standing  around a candlelit birthday cake while an apparently unconscious patient was lying on a bed behind them .

In 2009,  John Sawers, having just been made the new head of MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency,  was left red-faced when his wife thought it would be a good idea to publish photographs and family details on Facebook, revealing the couple’s home address and who their friends were.

In 2009, a Facebook photo made its way to The Washington Post showing the then president-elect Barack Obama’s chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, at a party, happily  groping the breast of a a life-sized cardboard cutout of the-then secretary of state to-be Hillary Clinton.  Favreau didn’t lose his job over the incident.

In 2013, American PR executive Justine Sacco sparked a social media storm with what she thought was a light-hearted tweet sent just before she boarded a long-haul flight from New York to South Africa.

When she landed 11 hours later she was greeted with Hashtags #JustineSacco and #HasJustineLandedYet trending on Twitter. Sacco was fired by her employer

In Britain in 2011, Stephanie Bon was working as a human resources assistant at Lloyds Banking Group when, infuriated after finding out details about how much her new chief executive, António Horta-Osório, was getting paid each year (US$21 million), she posted on Facebook. “LBG’s new CEO gets £4,000 an hour. I get £7. That’s fair.” She was fired shortly afterwards.