New York police didn't quite get the response they were hoping for after asking users to post photos of themselves with officers as part of a PR campaign.
Instead of the anticipated smiling selfies, the "#MyNYPD" hashtag has been inundated with thousands of photos of officers beating and dragging members of the public.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 22, 2014
One purported to show a bloodied 84-year-old man being manhandled into a police car after jaywalking.
Another, posted by the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, showed an officer violently wielding a nightstick along with the caption: "Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time."
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) April 22, 2014
"The #NYPD will also help you de-tangle your hair. #myNYPD," read another tweet.
— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) April 22, 2014
The hashtag had become a top-trending topic in the US by Tuesday evening, while the NYPD's official Twitter account retweeted just five images.
The account has remained silent about the social media backlash, which has since extended to other police departments around the US, including #MyLAPD and #MyMiamiPD.
It is just the latest organisation to cop a hijacked hashtag.
Qantas infamously endured a PR disaster in 2011 after its #QantasLuxury campaign prompted a glut of withering comments about grounded flights and engines catching fire.