A new Twitter-based PR campaign for Vodafone has backfired after anti-cuts protesters hijacked it with messages claiming the company has dodged billions of pounds in tax.
The 12 Days of Smiles campaign encouraged people to tweet about what made them smile using the #mademesmile hashtag. The company promised to gift a free phone to selected Twitter users.
The campaign was taken-over by supporters of UK Uncut, who started tweeting anti-Vodafone messages, accusing the company of avoiding up yo £6 billion in tax at a time when government budget cuts and price hikes are rampant.
Things got out of hand for Vodafone when a series of unmoderated tweets were posted directly onto its website, so that when people visited the company's website, they were greeted by anti-Vodafone messages.
The company refused to comment on the issue but did say: “It is completely untrue to say that Vodafone has an unpaid £6bn tax bill. HMRC itself has called that figure an 'urban myth'. Vodafone has not been 'let off' any tax, [it] pays its taxes everywhere that it operates.”