Somebody might be in big trouble in the social media department at FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) today. A meme was tweeted on the federal agency's official Twitter account on Wednesday that has some people pretty mad. An apology has already been issued and the offensive tweet was pulled but not before being retweeted more than 1,400 times.
FAFSA is a federal program that awards financial aid primarily based on income (or lack therof.) So when the incredibly insensitive but admittedly sort of funny meme popped up on their website, it upset quite a few people. First of all, not every FAFSA applicant is poor. Second, it's not very funny to make a joke about those who are poor. Especially when you are a federal agency tasked with helping that particular demographic.
The FAFSA tweet heard 'round the world read "Help me, I'm poor" and featured Kristen Wiig's character from the movie "Bridesmaids."The tweet that accompanied the picture read "If this is you, then you better fill out your FAFSA."
It was from the part of "Bridesmaids" when Wiig's character Annie is spotted in first class on the airplane and is asked to go back to coach. The meme is meant to be funny (and admit that you did at least chuckle because any "Bridesmaids" fan would have to at least grin.) The problem is that the tweet was so politically incorrect and admittedly offensive that whomever posted it should have known better.
The FAFSA tweet has since been removed and an apology has replaced it. The official apology reads: "We apologize for the insensitivity of our previous tweet. Our goal is to make college a reality for all. We're very sorry." Short but to the point is probably best. It's refreshing that the agency isn't trying to pin it on a "hacker" and instead are apologizing and taking responsibility.