NYPD Twitter Hashtag Gets Turned Against It

The hashtag #myNYPD was meant to establish dialogue between the department and the community. Twitter had other ideas.

NYPD Twitter Hashtag Gets Turned Against It
Twitter / @NYPDnews

The New York Police Department dealt with a social media emergency Tuesday after a well-intentioned hashtag backfired in an epic way. 

It started simple enough: This tweet from the NYPD's official Twitter account encouraged users to tweet photos of themselves with New York's finest using #myNYPD.

What followed was a day-long coup d'Twitter as users hijacked the hashtag and posted unflattering photos of the New York Police Department. 

Some pictures were more ironic, like this photo of officers standing next to an ad that reads, "We're not for everyone. Just the 1% that matters." (Via Twitter / @TheRealKeori)

Other pictures were more comedic, like this officer frisking a suspicious-looking pup. (Via Twitter / @BananaKarenina)

But the tone was mostly grim as Twitter users tweeted picture after picture of police brutality, some more graphic than others. (Via Twitter / @Scizyr@OLAASM@OccupyWallStNYC)

Nearly 10 hours after the NYPD launched their doomed Twitter campaign, #myNYPD was still trending in the U.S. 

A writer at Gawker called the hashtag fail "predictable" while a Quartz headline read, "The NYPD just figured out the perfect way to publicize its own worst moments." 

So, what went wrong? How did this whole share-your-NYPD-photos thing turn on its head so quickly? 

According to CNN, the NYPD said in a statement it was "creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city."

The New York Times reports the NYPD enjoyed some success in 2012 with a viral image of an officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots but adds that today's lesson is "Be Careful What You Tweet For." 

At least one user offered up a simple explanation for the failure, saying: "Like, seriously guys. It's the internet." (Via Twitter / @MattMarkiewicz)

The New York Times added that the department is not deterred, despite today's #myNYPD offerings. Spokesman Stephen Davis told The Times, "You take the good with the bad."