Another day, another big brand name stumbles — at least according to Twitter. On Tuesday, it was Cosmopolitan magazine.
Cosmo, a magazine famous for its interest in sex, dieting and exclamation points in headlines, published one of its signature pieces Monday, a profile of a 31-year-old Australian woman and how she "lost 44 pounds without ANY exercise." You'd click on that, right?
Only it turns out, when you read about Simone Harbinson's harrowing story of weight loss, that it came after she confronted major health issues, including a rare form of cancer, removal of organs, multiple infections, a partial lung collapse and PTSD from all the stress.
The magazine posted the story and the tweet on Monday afternoon, then deleted the tweet soon after. Meanwhile, the story is still online, and with the same headline missing the crucial facts.
By Tuesday, tweeters were still ticked off, responding to the magazine's bait-and-switch with a mix of outrage and incredulity and a slew of caustic tweets, many along the lines of this: Cancer is not a diet plan!
So far, the magazine has not responded to the jeering tweets, and did not respond to an email request for comment from USA TODAY.
But responding can carry its own risks to a brand, especially if handled clumsily.
Last week it was Kendall Jenner and Pepsi in trouble for an insensitive ad, and United Airlines in trouble for an insensitive policy about leggings on planes. Trouble was compounded when those big-name companies responded with what critics on social media viewed as inadequate or overly legalistic explanations and apologies.
Then, on Monday, it was United again, caught in a tornado of trouble for an insensitive assault on a paying passenger who didn't want to give up his seat and got violently dragged off his plane, screaming and bloodied, in full view of all social media. United's CEO apologized again Tuesday, after his first apology didn't go over too well.