The Washington Post

Weather Channel sets off storm on Twitter

The Weather Channel found itself in a Twitter storm Monday when someone at the company used an official Twitter account to react to tweets by Joel Burns, a city council member in Fort Worth, Tex.

Burns had originally taken to Twitter to complain about the Weather Channel app, which uses pictures of Dallas when showing Fort Worth weather conditions. He threatened to delete the app if the channel didn’t stop using pictures of Dallas.

And so he did.

The Weather Channel’s response proved controversial.

Then the storm hit, with many tweets supporting Burns and castigating the company for its mean-spirited response. Burns then offered a chance for the channel to redeem itself by asking it to donate $100,000 to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and The Trevor Project.


And a hash tag was born: #THISisFortWorth, with people filling Twitter with photos of Fort Worth scenes, some with people in front of them holding up signs that read “@weather channel #THISisFortWorth.”

Eventually the company posted an apology on Twitter and released a statement.

Burns said that the company will make a contribution, though an amount wasn’t specified, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. And it promised to work on getting Fort Worth photographs in its app.

Burns is an advocate for LGBT rights and has spoken out against bullying. He gave a widely acclaimed speech in 2010 at a Fort Worth City Council meeting aimed at gay teens called “It Gets Better.”

Pam Tobey is the graphics editor of the Morning Mix Web team at The Washington Post and a member of the Presentation Desk’s Information Design graphics team.

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