On Sunday June 14th, people across America were acknowledging Flag Day, an annual tradition, over social media. Coincidentally, it was also the annual celebration of the LGBTQ community – an event known as Pride. So when Coffee Meets Bagel reached out via social media to announce its support of Flag Day, the online dating service mistakenly caused an uproar because of a typo.
The now-infamous tweet which was widely criticized over social media and the subject of a story in the Washington Post, said: “It’s Fag Day. Hoist your colors and don’t forget to LIKE today’s Bagel.”
People on the East Coast were the first to catch the mistake, but many didn’t realize it was a typo and immediately took to Twitter to denounce the dating service, with one person posting: “Got a notification from @coffeeMbagel saying today was "fag day." I'm disgusted at the audacity to say that during pride. #coffeemeetsbagel.”
Many people weren’t aware of Flag Day, but they were aware of Pride celebrations, which made the typo even worse. They thought the company had posted the tweet on purpose.
Coffee Meets Bagel took down the post after they realized the typo. But thanks to the speed at which social media can influence a story, and the incredibly bad timing that the typo happened during Pride, the company had little chance to correct the error. They have since been apologizing and repeating that it was just a simple mistake.
About three hours after the notification went out, users received an e-mail from the company’s head of customer experience apologizing for the misspelling. It reads, in part:
“I would like to apologize wholeheartedly for the message you received this afternoon. The misspelling of Flag Day was a mistake and a complete oversight. We’re updating our process to ensure something like this does not happen again…Coffee Meets Bagel, as a company and as individual employees, celebrates the LGBTQ community and would never use such a word.”
While it might just be a simple oversight, the bigger question is: will it hurt CMB in the long-run, if people associate their brand with a lack of support of the LGBTQ community?
We have all sent emails and social media posts with typos – this isn’t uncommon. What is a shame in this instance is that a company sent an official tweet meant to show support of both Flag Day and the LGBTQ community, and yet, ended up alienating their customers and potential customers in the process.