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NYPD's Twitter Outreach Campaign Backfires

The NYPD showed it knows a lot more about fighting crime than it does about Twitter when it asked users to post pictures of friendly cops on the Web site — and online trolls responded with a flood of tweets depicting police brutality.

The NYPD’s attempt to court Twitter members blew up in its face on Tuesday, shortly after the department started the Twitter hashtag #myNYPD.

“Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD,” they wrote.

Instead of a social-media coup, the department’s net naiveté was exposed by cop-hating members of Occupy Wall Street, who used the hashtag to post every photo they could find of officers manhandling people.

The hashtag hijacking soon went viral and left the NYPD with egg on its face.

“Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time,” a user of Occupy NYC’s twitter handle wrote under a picture of cops struggling with protesters.

Another web wag using the name @CassandraRules wrote: “There’s always this classic shot of [Deputy Inspector] Anthony Bologna happily pepper spraying peaceful protestors.”

The images weren’t only from the 2011 protests around Zuccotti Park. One Twitter user put up the Post’s front page showing Kang Wong, the 84-year-old man bloodied by cops during a January jaywalking arrest.

By the end of the day the #myNYPD hashtag had countless images of cops struggling with people — and it trended up to No. 2 in America.

The department was philosophical about its cyber screw-up.

“People are free to do what they want,” NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said. ”But we are doing it to get our messages out to the communities . . . We will not be deterred from our social media objective.”

A law-enforcement source said the department didn’t think it through.

“Good intentions by the NYPD, but . . . who uses Twitter?” the source said. “The younger generation who have had bad interactions with the Police Department.”

Republished with permission of The New York Post

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