Huawei punishes employees for iPhone tweet blunder

Huawei has punished two employees for New Year greetings sent on the China smartphone maker’s official Twitter account using an iPhone from rival Apple, Reuters reported.

Huawei, the second largest smartphone maker in the world ahead of Apple, on New Year’s Day wished followers a “Happy #2019” in a tweet marked sent “via Twitter for iPhone”.

Huawei had quickly removed the tweet but screenshots of the blunder spread across social media.

“The traitor has revealed himself,” quipped one user on microblog Weibo, in a comment liked over 600 times.

“The twitter incident caused damage to the Huawei brand,” Huawei corporate senior vice-president and director of the board Chen Lifang said in an internal Huawei memo dated January 3.

The mistake occurred when outsourced social media handler Sapient experienced “VPN problems” with a desktop computer so used an iPhone with a roaming SIM card in order to send the message on time at midnight, Huawei said in the memo.

Twitter, like several foreign services such as those from Facebook and Alphabet, is blocked in China, where the Internet is heavily censored. To gain access, users need a virtual private network (VPN) connection.

Huawei, which overtook Apple as the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor by volume in January-September, declined to comment on internal issues when contacted by Reuters.

Huawei in the memo said the blunder showed procedural incompliance and management oversight. It said it had demoted two employees responsible by one rank and reduced their monthly salaries by 5,000 yuan or $728.27.

Huawei said the pay rank of one of the employees – Huawei’s digital marketing director – will also be frozen for 12 months.


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