New England Patriots Twitter account broadcasts racist slur

The team was celebrating reaching 1 million followers and automatically thanking anyone who retweeted a congratulatory message, regardless of what was in his or her username.

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Automating social media can be a way to do a lot more than an organization normally could do with a limited staff. It can also cause some pretty major mishaps.

Late last week, the New England Patriots discovered that the hard way. The team reached 1 million Twitter followers—it’s the first NFL team to reach that milestone—and issued this celebratory message:

We’re saying thanks to @patriots‘ 1million followers w/ custom digital Pats jerseys – RT for yours! #1MillionPatriots

— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 13, 2014

The Patriots’ Twitter team kept its promise to include anyone’s username on the virtual jersey, though it maybe should have been more discerning in its automated replies. MarketingLand snagged (and censored) a screenshot of a jersey with a username that included a racial slur:

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