Unintended Consequences


This post is by Jim Horton from Online Public Relations Thoughts


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Sephora, the beauty products retailer, is facing a social media storm that comes from an Instagram mistake.  An online query whether it shipped to Israel followed by another query whether it shipped to Palestine produced a botched answer through no fault of Sephora.

"Sephora does not ship to Israel or the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, but in screenshots circulating on social media, Instagram's collapsed comment layout makes it appear as if the company responded to the question "Do you ship to isreal??" with the statement "We do not ship to Palestine at this time.""

This produced an instant social media storm with charges, counter-charges, nasty comments and vile language.  Sephora didn't see it coming.  How could it?  But, it has to deal with the fall-out and quickly.  For one, it has to adjust for the vagaries of that caused the problem in the first place.  For another, it has to explain again cogently that it ships to neither country.  It's enough for a social media practitioner to pull hair out in frustration.