Microsoft was forced to issue an apology after being accused of using the Japan quake disaster as a chance to market its Bing search engine.
The software giant pledged to give $1 to Japan quake victims for every re-tweet of the following message:
The URL pointed towards Microsoft’s Corporate Citizenship page detailing how to use Bing Maps and other services to help with the disaster. The tweet didn’t go down well as some Twitter users accused Microsoft of using a human disaster to market Bing. “Lemme get this straight. @bing is using#japantragedy to market on twitter, requiring RT’s for donations? And only up to $100k? #epicfail,” wrote Ethan A. Maffey. Comedian Michael Ian Black, who has over 1.5 million Twitter followers according to Venture Beat, also expressed his disgust with this tweet: “Hey @ bing, stop using a tragedy as a fucking marketing opportunity.”
A flurry of similar messages appeared on Twitter and seven hours later, Bing was forced to apologize with the following tweet:
Microsoft has now donated $100,000 to the Japan quake disaster fund. A powerful 8.9-magnitude earthquake and Tsunami devastated Northern Japan after striking the country on Friday afternoon. The aftermath and scenes of distribution are incredibly tragic. The toll of human life is still unknown whilst the country deals with strong aftershocks and a massive clean-up operation. International governments worldwide have pledged relief packages and their condolences. Microsoft is working with the Red Cross in Japan and other key local NGOs to assist the country’s relief efforts. At this time our thoughts and prayers are with every single citizen of Japan. America’s Red Cross is accepting donations for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief. Individuals can text ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999 to donate $10 from their phones.