The Happy New Year message was marked with “sent via Twitter for iPhone” and was quickly seized upon by users who spotted it.
Chinese tech firm Huawei has demoted two employees after an iPhone was used to send a Happy New Year greeting from its official Twitter account.
The message wishing Huawei followers a “Happy #2019” on New Year’s Day was marked with “sent via Twitter for iPhone” and was quickly seized upon by users who spotted it.
Although the tweet was swiftly deleted, screenshots of the post spread across a whole host of social media platforms, including blogging site Weibo.
In an internal memo sent out on Thursday, seen by Reuters, Huawei corporate senior-vice president Chen Lifang said the mistake had “caused damage to the Huawei brand”.
The error happened after the firm Huawei uses to outsource its social media pages experienced “VPN problems” with a computer and so used an iPhone with a roaming SIM card to send the tweet in time for midnight, the memo said.
VPNs – or virtual private networks – act as a secure tunnel between devices, allowing users to send and receive data across public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.
As Twitter is banned in China, anyone in the country wishing to use the site would need to use a VPN connection.
Huawei tasks marketing company Sapient with handling its presence on Twitter and other social media websites, many of which are blocked in China.
Neither firm has responded to requests for comment, but the memo revealed that two employees had been demoted and had their salaries reduced.
The pay rank of one of the staff – Huawei’s digital marketing director – will also be frozen for 12 months, it said.
It is not the first time the use of iPhones has caused embarrassment for Huawei, which overtook Apple as the number two smartphone maker in the world in 2018 despite being completely locked out of the US market.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of nationalistic Chinese tabloid Global Times, was mocked last year after he used an iPhone when expressing support for Huawei and domestic peer ZTE Corp.
He later said his actions were not hypocritical as foreign brands should not be discriminated against.