FNB’s Twitter personality, Rbjacobs made a social media blunder on Tuesday (22 April), when a joke regarding the whereabouts of the bank’s widely-known “Steve” persona blew up in its face.
The account caused a stir by responding to a tweet asking where Steve is, by saying:
“He’s somewhere in Afghanistan, putting a bomb under a wheelchair and telling the cripple to run for it!”
The backlash to the “joke” was immediate, with many of the PR account’s followers expressing their disapproval at the statement.
The tweet was subsequently deleted, with “Rbjacobs” apologising, saying that “it was not my intent to cause any offense,” blaming a lapse in judgement.
FNB’s Rbjacobs account is a personified Twitter channel housing the bank’s first-contact social media PR team.
It is uncertain which individual made the remarks, but the Twitter account is in repair mode, apologising to individuals on Twitter.
FNB spokesperson, Suzanne Myburgh, Acting Head of Digital Marketing and Media, said in response to the tweet:
“FNB is deeply disappointed in and sincerely apologises for the tweet published on Tuesday morning 22 April 2014 regarding the whereabouts of Steve. We find the comment distasteful and in conflict with our corporate values. The tweet has been retracted. The matter will be investigated and appropriate disciplinary action taken.”
FNB CEO, Jacques Celliers tweeted in response: “Apologies for the @Rbjacobs wobble .. experts are investigating quickly.”
Twitter has played host to a number of corporate and individual blunders over the past few years, the latest of which saw the American Airlines account “accidentally” posting a sexually graphic image in response to a customer complaint.
Careless, insensitive and controversial comments made on the platform have also led to a number of dismissals and public lashings in South Africa, including former Hawks spokesman, McIntosh Polela, who made inappropriate comments in the wake of the Jub Jub trial.
Former eNCA sports anchor, Lance Witten, was also taken to task after he made light of a tragedy that happened at the Linkin Park show in 2012.
Social media law expert Emma Sadleir previously warned that even social media comments made in a “personal capacity” can have an impact on professional lives, by virtue of the fact that they are associated with employers in an online space.