Furniture store Habitat has been caught in a Twitter marketing gaffe that saw the chain advertising its goods in postings about the political unrest in Iran.
The store drew attenion to its tweets by tagging its messages with #iran, a 'hashtag', used by Twitter users to identify discussions on Iran.
The store has been plugging its products and services via Twitter, but adding unrelated tags that have been getting a lot of attention, like #iphone, #apple and #iran. Another Tweet mentioned the name of the opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi.
The micro-blogging service has been invaluable to protestors disputing the result of the recent Iranian elections, who have used it to communicate with the outside world. Political clashes have led to the deaths of at least 20 people.
When Twitter users mentioned the use of unrelated tags and highlighted Habitat's poor use of the service, the company did not issue an apology, but instead deleted the offending Tweets and reverted to standard marketing, advertising Tweets. There was no interaction with the users who criticised them.
The Social Media Today blog said of the tactic: "Admit nothing, aplogise for nothing, do not engage in conversation, advertise, advertise, advertise. You have to wonder why they're even bothering being on Twitter in the first place."