Twitter can be a powerful tool. Using a hashtag and a little incentive, campaigns can be launched by just one person that affects millions.
With such a potent social media weapon in their hands, the New York Police Department decided to attempt a bold PR stunt.
NYPD News posted an image on the site of two officers smiling beside a man in glasses with the caption "Do you have a photo with a member of the NYPD? Tweet us and tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on Facebook."
Although the first few responses, as reported by dailydot, were friendly, soon they were outnumbered and then overwhelmed by wave after wave of scorn and sarcasm. It quickly became one of the websites top trending terms.
"Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds" tweets one user, featuring a picture of an overweight officer attacking a protester with a baton.
Another, depicting a woman being manhandled away from a group of protesters, remarks "Need a mammogram? #myNYPD has you covered, forget Obamacare!"
Several more followed, each depicting a member of the police performing violent acts, their victims bloodied and bruised. One even showed an officer shooting a dog for no reason.
The NYPD issued a statement on Tuesday evening in response to the activity: "The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city."