Fast food giant McDonalds has had a social media nightmare after a promotional hashtag it launched on Twitter was hijacked by angry customers.
Using the paid-for tweeting service to promote hashtags to the top of the trending lists, McDonalds created the #MeetTheFarmers hashtag last week in order to post wholesome stories about the fresh produce supplied by farmers to the famous Golden Arches.
However, a couple of tweets used the more general #McDStories hashtag, and it was this that was seized upon by Twitter users wanting to air their grievances about the chain.
Customers tweeted about their negative experiences eating at McDonalds, with endless tales of chipped teeth and cases of food poisoning, while one user claimed to have found a fingernail in a Big Mac burger.
Other users took to the #McDStories hashtag to share their bad McDonalds experiences, until the chain decided to pull the promoted hashtag as it had veered so drastically off-message they felt it was unrecoverable.
McDonalds social media director Rick Wion said of the failed campaign: "Within an hour, we saw that it wasn't going as planned. It was negative enough that we set about a change of course."
The original #MeetTheFarmers hashtag has managed to escape the McDonalds backlash, and is still being used on Twitter.