New York - JPMorgan Chase & Co., the target of at least eight Justice Department investigations, was mocked and taunted by Twitter users after asking followers to send questions to an executive using the hashtag #AskJPM.
The online forum, which the bank cancelled late yesterday, was intended in part to give college students an opportunity to communicate directly with a senior executive, said Brian Marchiony, a spokesman for the New York-based company.
“#Badidea! Back to the drawing board,” the bank posted less than six hours after its original post, which drew more than 6,000 responses from users in that span, according to social media tracking service Topsy.
The “Snarkpocalypse,” as @ReformedBroker dubbed it, started after the bank’s official Twitter account posted a call for questions at 1:26 p.m. in New York for investment bank Vice Chairman James Lee, using #AskJPM.
JPMorgan, the biggest US bank, faces criminal probes including one into possible bribery in Asia and another examining its relationship with Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff.
The firm also has been negotiating an agreement with the US to resolve multiple mortgage-bond probes, and two ex- employees were indicted for allegedly trying to cover up a record trading loss last year.
JPMorgan’s call for questions provoked jeers from Twitter users, who responded with sarcastic posts about the bank’s mounting legal woes.
“Can I have my house back?” @AdamColeman4 posted.
“Is it true ‘JPM stands for ‘Just Pay More’?’’ asked @SconsetCapital.
‘‘What’s your favourite type of whale?” wrote @ObsoleteDogma.
JPMorgan’s record $6.2 billion loss tied to a derivatives position was built by a trader dubbed the London Whale because of the size of the bets.
Social media campaigns have backfired on other companies.
Home Depot Inc. apologised this month and pulled a Twitter photo of three men drumming on some store buckets after consumers deemed it racist.
McDonald’s Corp. sponsored the hashtag #McDStories in January 2012, seeking positive responses about dining at its restaurants. Instead, respondents joked about obesity and dog food, and the firm halted the promotion less than two hours after it started.
In 2011, Qantas Airways Ltd. let consumers write about their dream in-flight experiences only to be swamped with thousands of negative posts about the airline after the carrier became embroiled in a labor dispute. - Bloomberg News