Huawei has reportedly fined two of its employees over tweets sent for the company using an iPhone, according to Reuters. The tweet was sent on New Year’s Eve from the company’s official @Huawei Twitter channel, wishing followers a “#Happy2019.”
Reuters reported the story today citing an “internal Huawei memo.” Apparently, the company responsible for Huawei’s social media duties, Sapient, had problems with a VPN service at the time. VPN’s are necessary for companies to access some websites in China, where internet usage is heavily regulated. As the tweet couldn’t be sent via a desktop system, someone used an iPhone as a workaround.
However, Twitter displays which devices have been used to send a tweet — something many companies and celebrities with brand deals fall foul to — and seeing as Apple is a major Huawei competitor, this was allegedly seen as harmful to the Huawei brand.
The tweet was quickly deleted, but not before some folks were able to screenshot it.
That was fast pic.twitter.com/y6k0FJF7Gq
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) January 1, 2019
What’s the damage?
Reuters says the two people responsible for the tweet have had their salaries reduced 5,000 yuan (~$730) per month over the error, as it showed procedural incompliance and management oversight. They have also been demoted “one rank.”
Meanwhile, Huawei is said to have frozen the pay rank of its digital marketing director for 12 months. Huawei declined Reuters’ request for comment.
Huawei has something of a reputation for discipline and strict working conditions. In December, The Washington Post alleged Huawei runs a military-like business, where employees are asked to give up vacation leave and overtime pay, and work “inhumane” hours.
With all of that being said, it’s possible Huawei has created the latest Twitter narrative in order to save face. VPN problems sound far more innocent than “our own employees prefer iPhones.” Jus’ sayin’.