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30 Jan, 2019 18:19

Twitter shows no mercy as Germany mixes up Irish & Ivorian flags in Brexit tweet

Twitter shows no mercy as Germany mixes up Irish & Ivorian flags in Brexit tweet

Côte d’Ivoire has unexpectedly found itself in the heat of the Brexit row when the German Foreign Office mixed up its flag with that of Ireland in a tweet. The staff had to use plenty of wit to reply to the comments that followed.

“Germany and the entire EU will stand by Ireland on the backstop,” the English-language handle of the ministry tweeted, quoting FM Heiko Maas. The official was referring to the EU-backed condition of the troubled Brexit deal, which the British MPs threw away from the text in a Tuesday vote.

But what started as a serious statement quickly spiraled into a gaffe when an emoji with an Ivorian flag appeared, proclaiming that Germany “will not allow” for it “to be isolated.”

There was simply no hope this could go unnoticed on emoji-savvy Twitter, with comments quickly appearing to back Berlin’s drive to “support Ivory Coast,” and speculating that the West African nation would be “thrilled” with the “new-found support.”

Some trolled the ministry with other potential flag confusions, even by mixing up tricolors of Germany and Belgium.

One comment suggested the FM should follow up with what the diplomats do best: “call for de-escalation on both sides in this flag war.” (Ironically, the minister’s own handle never used any emojis when tweeting in German).

To the German staff’s credit, they chose to mitigate the flurry of tweets in the most diplomatic way possible – by tweeting a correction and then diving into the comment section to crack some jokes.

“Our colleagues in Abidjan just called – our tweet is trending there! (No it's not.)” said one such reply, while another complained that “We’re all confused by Brexit.” They even replied to a suggestion to set up a “flag awareness course” at the ministry by saying that it would have to be called something to the tune of “Länderflaggensensibilisierungsfortbildungsveranstaltung.”

Funnily enough, the German officials were far from the first to mess up the sequence of white, orange and green in a tweet – with none less than Irish PM Leo Varadkar falling victim to the same confusion as he congratulated the nation with St. Patrick’s Day. Can it be that politics and emojis simply don’t mix?

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