This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Marriott, the international mega hotel chain, fired a low-level social media employee after he accidentally liked a tweet that offended the Chinese government.

Roy Jones, a 49-year-old based in Omaha, Nebraska, worked in Marriott’s customer engagement center. On January 14, Jones was fired for liking a tweet from the Marriott Rewards official twitter account.

The tweet? A post from a Tibetan separatist group that praised Marriott for calling Tibet a country, instead of a part of China, in an online survey the company had sent out.

#BoycottMarriott was trending on Twitter, which Jones noticed, and there was uproar on Chinese social media over the survey. But Jones said his team was not briefed on the situation by any of his higher-ups.

“I was completely unaware of what was going on,” Jones told The Wall Street Journal. “We were never trained in any of the social graces when it came to dealing with China.”

China has a history of reprimanding companies that offend the Chinese government and go against its official policies. Delta Airlines and Qantas have issued apologies after listing Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong as countries.

Twitter is banned in China, so the Chinese public would have had trouble even seeing the tweet.

China enacted a law last year that banned content that “endangers national security, national honor and interests” or “incites subversion of national sovereignty.”

Jones said that he would go through about 300 tweets a shift but doesn’t remember liking the tweet, although he recognized that it was possible it was him. This was the tweet Jones liked:

The Marriott Rewards Twitter account issued a response two days later apologizing for their actions after being forced by the the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration to do so.

Not only did Marriott have to apologize, but the Chinese government also suspended online booking services for a full week as a punishment. It also told Marriott to “seriously deal with the people responsible.”

China is Marriott’s second largest market, where the company has almost 300 properties.

TPG reached out to Marriott for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication. Craig Smith, a Marriott executive, did issue a statement to the Wall Street Journal:

“We made a few mistakes in China earlier this year that suggested some associates did not understand or take seriously enough the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. Those incidents were mistakes and in no way representative of our views as a company.”

Featured image by AFP / Getty Images.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

This cash back card has a focus on dining and entertainment where you can earn unlimited 4% cash back in those spending categories. You can also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Balance Transfer Fee
$0
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.