Microsoft Offends With Japan Earthquake Relief Tweet

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is in some hot water after one of their latest Twitter posts was misconstrued as a ploy to use the horrific natural disasters in Japan to promote the Bing search engine.

Since the now-upgraded 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck last week, the media has reported hundreds of people killed, and thousands more missing. A subsequent tsunami, which slammed parts of northeastern Japan, has sent the death toll skyrocketing still higher.

In the aftermath of such devastation, Microsoft sent out the following tweet early Saturday morning: "How can you #SupportJapan -- For every retweet, Bing will give $1 to Japan quake victims... up to $100K". (Source:

Thousands Retweet, with Sentiments Attached

Thousands did honor Microsoft's request to retweet the original message. However, many did so in a manner not reflective of the company's intentions, adding their disapproval of Microsoft's idea.

"Why doesn't Bing just give $100K to #supportjapan? Why turn a tragedy into a promotional opportunity? That isn't even a large sum for relief," replied one individual.

Others were less pensive, and more graphic, in their opinions of Microsoft's "relief effort". Many made their beliefs known in the form of explicative-laden responses.

Comedian Michael Ian Black reposted the original message with the following precursor: "Hey Bing! Stop using a tragedy as an [expletive] marketing opportunity." Worth noting: Black has more than a million Twitter followers.

Microsoft Apologizes for Misinterpretation

Naturally, the adverse effects of the campaign sent the Redmond firm into a tailspin, as Microsoft looked for ways to rescind their original post. Still, company officials made it very clear that their apologies surrounded the misconstrued nature of the message and not its content.

"We apologize that the tweet was negatively perceived. Intent was to provide an easy way for people to help Japan," said Microsoft. (Source:

The company has since donated $100,000 toward relief efforts.

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