CPAC is not doing well on the internet. First, they confused the pictures of two African-American men on their mobile website; then, this disaster:
There is a right way to solicit questions via a hashtag and a right way to respond to the trolls (see Governor Wolf’s Twitter Town Hall last week for an example in how to do it right), but just throwing a hashtag out there for the public is a bad, bad idea if you are as controversial as CPAC. They generated a ton of press and interest in the hashtag, but probably not the kind that they wanted. The lesson, again: don’t ask for questions from the public if you have a ton of controversy or negative sentiment behind your name, and at a bare minimum, be prepared for trolling.
So, lesson to all controversial brands: stop this, or at least be prepared to deal with it.