Huh, I Wonder Why Forza Deleted This Obviously Bad Tweet
We’ve got questions about this tweet that came from the official Forza Motorsport video game Twitter account yesterday.
Brands engaging with fans on official social media channels is nothing new. It's a good way to build a fanbase and bring some light-heartedness to what could otherwise be perceived as a stodgy, corporate personality. It is not difficult, then, to make the leap and assume that a brand's social media account acts as its mouthpiece. And when that mouthpiece does a strange tweet—and then deletes it with seemingly no explanation after being questioned—it only serves to bring up further questions.
On Tuesday afternoon, the official Forza Motorsport Twitter account did this very bizarre prompt:
"If you owned a widebody Ferrari 458 and a Chinese restaurant," the tweet asked, "what would you name the restaurant?" It went on to say that the user with the best answer would be rewarded with an in-game car of their choosing.
Reaching into the very depths of my brain to find a correlation between a widebody Ferrari 458 and a Chinese restaurant, I came up with nothing. Neither did the rest of The Drive staff. We were stumped as to why these two seemingly unrelated things would show up in a sentence together.
I will not leap to conclusions and call the tweet itself racist, because it's not. It's merely very strange and confusing. However, a side effect of this kind of prompt is that it essentially grants Twitter users (the morally sophisticated bunch that they are) an open goal for racially insensitive responses. Sure enough, there were a handful of replies that included racist Asian stereotypes.
At around 8 p.m. that evening I quote-tweeted Forza Motorsport's tweet, asking what it meant by the prompt. Not long after that, the tweet was deleted with no explanation as to why. As of this writing, the Forza Motorsport account hasn't tweeted again.
On Wednesday, I emailed a Forza Motorsports spokesperson to ask what was meant by the tweet and for further clarification and will update this post when I hear back.
I am very curious as to how the widebody Ferrari tweet was greenlit. The game's account has more than 350,000 followers and has done more than 18,000 tweets since it joined Twitter in April 2009. Surely the people that run it know how Twitter works by now: that when you give racist trolls a chance, they'll take it to do racist tweets. You can avoid the whole snafu by simply not doing a racially charged tweet.
Regardless, deleting the tweet and not acknowledging it at all doesn't feel like contrition. It feels like trying to pretend it never happened instead of taking the opportunity to be better next time. Or, there's always abiding by the golden Twitter rule: Never tweet.
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