Social media brings out the worst in people. Unfortunately for some public figures, that means a larger deal of scrutiny for their words and actions than in pre-social media times. Just ask Elon Musk. This week, the latest public figure to be under fire for his use of Facebook to self-promote might be lesser known, but that doesn’t make his gaffe any less embarrassing. Hoboken mayor Ravi Bhalla took took to Facebook to share his actions during a recent water main break and was caught thanking himself in the comment section, bringing on loads of ridicule from commenters. Looks like someone forget to switch accounts.
A central water main broke in Hoboken this week, shutting down a large section of the city’s southwest and impacting thousands of residents. The 12-inch water main supplied water for a large area of downtown Hoboken, meaning scores of homes were left without water for several hours. Employees of New Jersey’s SUEZ local water utility comission and city employees such as Mayor Bhalla went door-to-door handing out bottled water to affected residents – a commendable effort to be sure. However, public officials shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back publicly as Bhalla did.
Mayor Bhalla posted a series of pictures of him inspecting the utility work and knocking on doors with bottled water in hand. Twenty-one minutes later, Bhalla commented on his own post, writing “Thanks for the hands on work and unrelenting pressure you’re placing on Suez. It’s needed and necessary.” Other users immediately jumped on the comments, ridiculing the mayor for patting himself on the back. Even Hoboken Councilman Michael DeFusco, who lost to Bhalla in the mayoral race last year, joined in on the jeers.
Hoboken city representatives issued statements claiming that the Mayor’s brother had access to Bhalla’s social media accounts and erroneously posted the comments from the Mayor’s account as opposed to his own. Sounds like a convenient excuse. When will public figures stop getting themselves in hot water on social media?