Top 10 Social Media Fails of 2021

Cringe intensifies 

Social media fails always happen, but these 10 fails from 2021 take the digital cake. 

If you’ve ever seen the image below, it’s likely due to a serious social media fail. Nobody’s perfect, and finding success on social media often requires an element of risk. However, when that risk isn’t appropriately assessed, it’s a recipe for online disaster. 

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From small creators to multinational corporations, social media fails seem to keep coming.  

Let’s take a look at the top social media fails of 2021. 

1. Facebook stopped employees from reading an internal report 

To say Facebook doesn’t have the best reputation is an understatement, which is why there was outrage online when it came to light that the social media giant had stopped employees from reading an internal report about its role in the January 6 riots at the Capitol

It just seems like PR nightmare after PR nightmare for Facebook/Meta these days. 

2. All of rainbow capitalism 

Pride is significant for the LGBTQIA+ community. However, the celebrations are often hijacked by corporations looking to cash in on the increased attention. 

Rainbow capitalism (also called pink capitalism) involves the involvement of capitalism and consumerism in the LGBTQIA+ movement, and it’s no stranger to social media fails.

3. Twitter Fleets  

Twitter launched Fleets, a short-lived stories feature, back in November 2020, only to remove the feature just eight months later. Enough said. 

Twitter Fleets social media fails

It’s pretty rough when a full feature of a social media platform is considered a social media fail.

4. Burger King’s International Women’s Day tweet  

In a now-deleted tweet, Burger King UK tweeted, “Women belong in the kitchen.” 

Does this need more explanation of why it’s on our list? 

5. Mark and Spencer sue Aldi

If there’s one thing Aldi loves, it’s pushing the limits of blatant copyright infringement. If there’s another thing they love, it’s not caring when other companies get upset about it. 

After Mark & Spencer launched legal action against April, accusing the German supermarket chain of copying the design of its Colin the Caterpillar, Aldi took to Twitter to defend their good friend Cuthbert the Caterpillar. 

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6. LinkedIn doesn’t stay in their lane 

It’s fair to say that LinkedIn isn’t considered a “cool” social network, which it’s why it didn’t go too well when the platform tried to take a few shots at TikTok. 

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When LinkedIn tried to tell people, “If your business message is sandwiched between the skateboarder and your best friend’s vacation photos, it’ll feel out of place,” the platform clearly showed that they were behind the times. 

7. TikTok bans the Milk Crate Challenge  

For all the fun and creativity that TikTok has inspired over the last few years, the odd challenge has popped up from time to time that has caused more harm than good.  

participating in this activity could result in you or others getting hurt>  Guyse what mean tiktok say like this? Something is wrong? This could be  hurt my account? : r/Tiktokhelp

The infamous milk crate challenge saw TikTok users stacking milk crates into a pyramid and attempting to climb across the unstable structure. However, due to concerns that the challenge could cause serious injury to its participants, TikTok quickly banned it from the platform

8. Nike vs Lil Nas X

As we’ve already seen above, people on the internet don’t usually take too kindly to massive corporations taking legal action, especially when that action is against one of the most famous musicians in the world.  

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When Nike sued MSCHF, a small Brooklyn-based company, over the sale of 666 pairs of altered Nike Air Max 97s as “Satan Shoes” in collaboration with the rapper Lil Nas X, the internet was quick to jump to the defence of Lil Nas X and MSCHF. 

9. CEO fires staff over Zoom 

US mortgage business found itself in the middle of a PR nightmare when CEO Vishal Garg fired 900 employees via a Zoom call.

Mr Garg said he “failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected”.

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Firing staff is one thing, but to do so in such an impersonal manner sent the story worldwide.

10. Robinhood’s Superbowl ad backlash 

When Robinhood, a financial services company, positioned itself as a platform for the people, it set itself up to fail. 

Before the Superbowl, Robinhood was already facing backlash for temporarily banning people from buying stock in companies like GameStop and putting restrictions on stocks associated with the subreddit r/WallStreetBets. 

All you have to do is glance at the below Twitter thread to see the reaction to their Superbowl ad

Avoid making your social media fails by checking out last year’s top 10 social media fails