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Chinese mobile giant Huawei is penalizing two employees with docked pay and demotions after a New Years tweet was published on the brands official Twitter account marked as sent by iPhone.

The two employees are facing a rough start to the year, being penalized by the company to the tune of 5,000 yuan ($728.27) per month, a pretty high price for a single Tweet.

So the huawei employees responsible for the "Twitter for iPhone" incident received internal punishments of demotion and salary reduction. The incident happened because huawei's Vpn service wasn't working. The employees had to stick a HK sim card into an iPhone to tweet. ??? pic.twitter.com/1mpGehrViX

— William Wang (@cowboyInNY) January 3, 2019

The senior vice president and director of the board, Chen Lifang, justified the punishment in an internal memo, writing that “the incident caused damage to the Huawei brand,according to Reuters. The memo says that among the two punished is the companys digital marketing director, who will have his pay grade reduced for an entire year for lack of managerial oversight.

Naturally, the irony of the embarrassing New Years Eve tweet was not overlooked on social media, given the heated climate of confrontation between Apple and Huawei, particularly in light of efforts by Chinese firms just last month to boycott Apple products.

What is even more ironic, however, is that Chinas own firewall restrictions against Twitter were likely the cause of the “VPN problems” which resulted in the employee resorting to tweeting from a phone, according to the memo. VPNs (virtual private networks) are used to get around Chinas ban on most Western social media sites.

Although the incriminating tweet was quickly corrected, the original version was screenshotted and shared across Chinese and English social media, prompting mockery.

This is not the first time a company representatives brand choice has resulted in high-profile embarrassment. In October, Samsung went even further when they sued Russian brand ambassador Ksenia Sobchak for using an iPhone on a talk show.

Last year, Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, also drew criticism when he made statements supporting Huawei, despite using an iPhone himself. Hu explained his brand choice saying that his supportive comments do not mean that he advocates taking action against foreign brands.

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