The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan think-tank which bills itself as having “developed practical solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.” They also have found themselves on the wrong end of a national scandal after sending a crude tweet to Amnesty International.
In response to the ongoing crisis in Ferguson, Amnesty International sent out a tweet which scolded the United States’ perceived hypocrisy on the issue of protecting human rights . To the surprise of everyone watching, CSIS responded by telling Amnesty to “suck it”:
The tweet was deleted and CSIS quickly made these two posts:
In their statement, CSIS admitted that they had become the latest organization to fall victim to an intern’s snafu:
Early this morning, an unconscionable tweet was directed to Amnesty from CSIS’s Twitter account (@CSIS). The tweet in no way reflects CSIS’s views. It was sent by a CSIS intern who had access to our account for monitoring purposes. The intern wrongly assumed that this tweet was being sent from his personal account when in fact it was sent while logged in to CSIS’s twitter account.
CSIS went on to say that they were “embarrassed,” had apologized to Amnesty directly and would be reviewing their social media policies going forward. In an Email to Talking Points Memo, Andrew Schwartz, Senior VP for External Relations at CSIS, added that, “I have reached out via email to Amnesty and will follow up with a phone call as well to apologize to Amnesty and their colleagues.”
And then, they kissed and made up, on Twitter:
It’s important to note that CSIS handled the aftermath of this snafu very well. They explained what happened, acknowledged the serious nature of the breach, accepted responsibility, apologized directly to the offended parties and discussed how they would ensure that such an error would never happen again .
An important secondary note here: Interns should not tweet on behalf of a major organization. Stories like this happen far too often. That’s not to say that a paid professional cannot make a similar mistake (they have, many, many times!), but as a rule, interns lack the understanding and skill necessary to adequately manage social media. More to the point, they cannot be held accountable in the same way that an employee or contractor can.
Do you agree with that statement about interns? Let me know in the comments!