AT&T's 'never forget' 9/11 image provokes Twitter outrage

Even a company apology, after the image was removed, got dinged as insincere

The 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Wednesday prompted AT&T to post a Twitter image -- then to quickly remove it -- of a person taking a smartphone picture of the Tribute in Light memorial in New York City.

Accompanied by the simple words, "Never Forget," AT&T's image on Twitter seemed to be unforgettable for those who thought it promoted smartphones at the expense of a tragedy, according to a rash of responses on Twitter.

AT&T took the Twitter image down about one hour after it was posted, according to various reports, and issued a Twitter apology: "We apologize to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste. The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy."

The original image was grabbed by several Web news operations before it was deleted, including the Washington Post.

In addition to the earlier critiques of the image, some Twitter users attacked the apology as well. "The apology is somehow more insulting," tweeted Gourmet Spud, while bunnyhero tweeted that the apology was "what we call a 'fauxpology.'"

The image itself was likened by Troy Blackford in a tweet to a sandwich shop owner going to high school car accident funeral with a sign, "Sorry your kids are dead...EAT at JOE's."

Ryan Negri reasoned in a tweet that it was worse to lie about the reasoning behind the original image: "It was not 'solely' meant to do anything but promote yourself tastelessly."

BenDavid Grabinski tweeted that AT&T's moves meant he would be switching to Sprint.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at  @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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