Huawei penalizes employees for iPhone tweet that 'caused damage to the brand'

Huawei penalizes employees for iPhone tweet that 'caused damage to the brand'
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a “Twitter for iPhone” social media blunder that so often sees Android device manufacturers inadvertently endorse Apple?

While these arguably embarrassing things are generally forgotten within a few days of their discovery after companies rush to erase all traces of their errors and we move on to more consequential stories in the global tech industry, Huawei’s recent gaffe continues to make headlines.

This was a particularly noteworthy faux pas given the heated trade war between China and the US, the controversial recent arrest (and subsequent freeing) of Huawei’s CFO in Canada, as well as an Apple boycott of sorts coordinated by a number of Huawei suppliers, partners, and simple compatriots.

As such, the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor is reportedly unwilling to leave the deed go unpunished, docking the pay of two employees by the monthly equivalent of over $700, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The document describes the incident in which Huawei Technologies wished its Twitter followers a happy new year from an iPhone as cause for brand damage. In addition to the salary reduction, the two employees blamed for the PR blunder are also facing demotion by “one rank”, with Huawei’s digital marketing director looking at a third penalty in the form of frozen wages for a period of 12 months.

But perhaps the most interesting part about the Reuters report is the description of how the incident unfolded. It turns out the tweet was supposed to be fired off from a desktop computer, which obviously wouldn’t have generated any controversy, but upon experiencing “VPN problems” on said PC, outsourced Huawei social media handler Sapient used an iPhone with a roaming SIM card to post the New Year’s message by the end of December 31.

The reason a VPN (virtual private network) client was needed in the first place is naturally China’s censorship of Twitter, as well as Facebook, Google, and many other popular Western web services. Kind of ironic, don’t you think?



1. Heisenberg

Posts: 378; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

When will Apple penalize the employee that tweeted with a Samsung phone ?


Posts: 941; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

This is PhoneArena we don't talk about here!

10. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Apple never tweet for a reason.

16. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I am betting they did and i bet the Samsung employee also got in trouble or fired.

3. Vogue1985

Posts: 482; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

VPN, nice and simple explains why they are using Personal Private items, too much censorship. Get a blackberry, are they as secure as the older non android versions.

4. whatev

Posts: 2333; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

What? Is this really legal? I mean if I were one of those employees I’d leave this company instantly, China never stops amazing me

6. mootu

Posts: 1530; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Of course it's legal, it damages the brand, Apple, Samsung and every other large company in the world operates like this and there have been many instances over the years of things like this happening. If you damage your employee's brand you will pay in one way or another. What companies need to stop doing is using these so called "social media handling firms" that keep making the screw ups. Samsung, Apple and Huawei have all had this happen to them in the last few months and each time it's down to outside media handling people cocking up.

8. whatev

Posts: 2333; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

I don’t think is humanly possible to keep working there after that penalty, I mean it’s better for those employees to leave the company and start from zero in another company or industry, did you read the whole news? The marketing director will see his wages frozen for 12 MONTHS!!! That’s ridiculous, as much as you hate apple you just gotta recognize this penalty is senseless at all

11. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

So you think it's better if he just get fired? Lol... And it's just frozen wage, it's not like he won't get paid for a whole year

12. mootu

Posts: 1530; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

"did you read the whole news? The marketing director will see his wages frozen for 12 MONTHS!!!" That just means he won't get a raise in the next 12 months, he will still be paid his regular salary.

17. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

The apple employee and Samsung employee probably lost their job. These two are just getting a reduction in pay demoted and no raises for a year. Probably better then no job.

13. Be_Mine

Posts: 290; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

There will be Hundreds (if not thousands) lining up for the job if you leave. And good luck trying to finding a new job.

15. Farcaster

Posts: 162; Member since: Apr 16, 2018

Millions in China's case.

5. cmdacos

Posts: 4267; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

How does Hauwei control what happens to another company's employee? I call BS. Did Trump write this memo and send it to Reuters?

7. mootu

Posts: 1530; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

They will probably punish the people who employed and liase with the social media handlers. The same said social media handlers probably won't be working with Huawei again either, contract will be out of the window.

9. Charlie2k

Posts: 138; Member since: Jan 11, 2016

Same as Apple does to its employees (the journalists). Puniching people for their free thinking.

14. Nionx

Posts: 207; Member since: Oct 30, 2017

Good. I always felt that people who represent one brand shouldn't be seen with a rival brand while on the job. All brands should follow this example. If you're on the company's dollar, everything you do should be for the good of the company. Once you're off the clock, it's a different story.

18. mike2959

Posts: 696; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

100% legal. And in communist controlled countries you’re lucky if you don’t get put in front of a firing squad.

19. theviolinist

Posts: 209; Member since: Feb 03, 2018

and the fact that huawei copies apple all the way down to the last pentalobe screws isn't damaging the brand? lol

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