According to an internal disciplinary email of Huawei Technologies leaked on Thursday, two employees responsible were demoted by one rank, and their monthly salaries were cut by HK$5,702 (5,000 yuan), after the recent social media mishap. Huawei is yet to validate or comment the email.
On 31st December, 2018, two employees of the world’s second-biggest smartphone company sent out a New Year tweet “Happy #2019 from all of us on Huawei” on its official twitter account via an iPhone. A “Twitter for iPhone” stamp was visible in the bottom right hand corner of the tweet.
The tweet was deleted shortly after it went public. Nevertheless, screenshots of the message spread across social media.
Huawei pinpointed the cause of the incident to a virtual private network (VPN) issue.
Internet censorship which includes the ban of twitter is enshrined in Chinese law. Accessing the US social media site would require a VPN service.
Chen Lifang, president of Huawei’s public affairs and communications department, allegedly commented in the memo that “the incomplete management, irresponsibility of certain employees, and insufficient supervision over suppliers” resulted in an “adverse effect to the Huawei brand”.