Square Enix really messed up when they released their Facebook app that allowed users to put a “hit” on their friends.
The app—a promotion for the Hitman: Absolution video game—was supposed to be a fun way to “poke” people, to misuse a Facebook term. And it was live mere hours before it was pulled back down after a horde of critics said that it was encouraging cyberbullying.
The twist to it all was why the folks on the receiving end deserved to be “hit” in the first place. It could be for any reason. Here’s what the initial press release said:
Despite its seemingly dark heart, the experience has its tongue firmly in its cheek, allowing users to input whatever ridiculous reason they want for their friend to be terminated. Whether it’s their bad taste in clothes or inability to get a round of drinks in, the target is left in no doubt as to their ‘crime’.
But the app site itself suggested other reasons for “hitting” someone—including, er, um … if there are certain parts of their male or female anatomies that don’t, let’s say, measure up.
Did Square Enix use the social hot button of bullying in an attempt to try and sell more units? Did some big shot at the company actually sign off on the idea thinking it was a good move? Really?
The entertainment industry has proven time and again that it will do just about anything to make a buck. There are no boundaries. I guess the plan is to go ahead and toss it out there and, if it causes a dust-up, we’ll simply pull it. Either way, any publicity is good publicity.
As very young children we’re taught basic principles that will help us celebrate another birthday. You know, stuff like looking both ways before crossing the street or abstaining from running with scissors or never mixing gasoline and fireworks. Maybe the folks at Square Enix need to regroup and spend an afternoon contemplating all those helpful ideas from their childhood. It might save them the hassle of having to make an apology to millions of people.
Unless of course that was the plan the whole time.