Huawei Mistakenly Tweets “Happy New Year” Using An iPhone

by Alexei Rivera | January 4, 2019 5:05 pm

Another day, another person who’s paid to promote a smartphone brand gets caught using the competitor’s phone. Mistake? Of course. Embarrassing? Extremely. This happened recently to Huawei, (a company that’s no stranger to cheating at Antutu scores and passing off DSLR captures as photos taken by their phones – twice[1]) when their social media agency tweeted an innocent “Happy New Year” greeting to everyone – using an iPhone.

Its was an innocent mistake. China has strict policies against international services like Twitter, so according to Huawei’s Social Media agency Sapient, the tweet was originally planned to be posted from a PC. But due to technical issues, they opted to use a roaming SIM phone with a VPN. (Virtual Private Networks – ways to access websites outside your region locks.)

That phone, unfortunately, was an iPhone.

For people who don’t know, (and there’s a surprising amount of people who don’t, given that many many celebrities like Gal Gadot have been caught tweeting using their iPhones despite being an ambassador of Huawei) iPhones add a little signature when you Tweet. Its automatic and lets people know you sent your message “via Twitter for iPhone.”

You’d think a savvy Social Media Agency would know that – given that they’re paid big money to KNOW THE IN’S AND OUT’S OF SOCIAL MEDIA. But they didn’t. And thus, they sent their Happy New Year greeting for the world to see – including the fact that it was sent from an iPhone.

That’s embarrassing. Whether or not the agency had any VPN issues, its clear iPhones was part of the agency’s devices cleared for social media use – and not Huawei phones. Android phones like Huawei’s are easy to run VPNs on, therefore there is absolutely no excuse not to use one.

What’s worse, one of the biggest YouTube Tech reviewers, MKBHD with over 7 million subscribers, is one of the first people to notice this blunder. And even after the tweet was deleted minutes later, the damage has been done and the post has since been screenshoted and retweeted.

Now, understand that agencies like this (Sapient) are essentially separate companies doing outsourced work for Huawei. And sometimes employees from these agencies will have their own personal phones or phones they’ve used even before they’ve managed to land Huawei as a client.

However brands like Huawei will have strict compliance policies for these agencies to follow. And chief among these requirements is to never let people know you’re using non-Huawei devices.

Gal Gadot promoting Huawei, using her iPhone (And now she’s shilling for Asus)

Because if someone representing Huawei – even an agency – openly uses a different brand phone, then consumer confidence on the brand drops. If you saw a Ferrari executive driving a Lamborghini, it would imply that the executive thinks the Lambo is the better car.

Hence, Sapient CLEARLY believes iPhones are better phones. There is no other interpretation here. Simple mistake, but huge consequences.

Huawei is not taking this sitting down. In an internal memo dated January 3rd seen by Reuters, Corporate Senior Vice-President and Director of the Board Chen Lifang said, “the incident caused damage to the Huawei brand.”

The memo also cites that the blunder showed “procedural incompliance” and “management oversight”. Due to this, two employees have been demoted by one rank and had reduced monthly salaries by 5,000 yuan or US$ 730 (PHP 38,300).

Huawei’s digital marketing director will also have their pay rank frozen for 12 months. (Not clear on what this means, but it’s likely this is a delay for any possible raises by a year.)

This small mistake-turned-controversy is but one in the line of damaging headlines surrounding the Chinese brand. Despite massive gains in the smartphone sector with compelling devices like the Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro – reaching 2nd overall phone shipments in the world[4] – many issues have surfaced to possibly dampen the spirits of Huawei fans. Most of these include allegations of spyware in their devices – including their phones – which has led the US and a growing number of countries to ban the distribution of their products in their respective shores.

Last month, Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested at Vancouver airport for allegations of violating Iran trade sanctions[5] and is supposed to be extradited to the US. Compared to a lowly mistaken tweet from an agency, this arrest is the one that could really sour the tense trade agreements between China and the west.

For most of us though, given that this is the internet, we’ll forget this even happened in about… what was it again?

Source: Channel News Asia[6]





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