The official account of the German Foreign Office has tweeted a statement by its head, Heiko Maas, on Brexit negotiations and discussions over the Irish border, promising that Germany and the entire EU would stand by Ireland on the backstop and would not allow it to be isolated on the issue.
The resoluteness of the message did not seem to have an effect. The ministry replaced the name of the country for a flag emoji, but picked the wrong one – namely, the flag of the Ivory Coast, which has green, white and orange stripes like Ireland, but in reverse order.
The slip was too good to overlook it. The reaction was merciless and hilarious, with netizens calling “to stand by Ivory Coast”.
👏🏻 That’s the Ivory Coast’s flag 🇨🇮. I’m sure they are thrilled with your new-found support. 🤦🏻♂️— Grizzly_Bear (@Grizzly_BearUK) 30 января 2019 г.
Totally agree, it's important to support Ivory Coast…— Gabracho (@gabrach7) 30 января 2019 г.
I too agree with backing the Ivory Coast on their border with the UK— Cyclopean View (@CyclopeanView) 30 января 2019 г.
Soon, the gaffe evolved into a proper war of flags.
Very nice sentiment from the foreign minister of 🇧🇪— Donall Quinn (@quinner1955) 30 января 2019 г.
To the German diplomats’ credit, they did not rush to delete the unfortunate mix-up, which incidentally occurred only on its English-language account, but instead took the feast of sarcasm to a whole new level.
Thanks to all our followers for spotting the mistake before we did. Fake news will never get past you guys 😉— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) 30 января 2019 г.
We will not allow 🇮🇪 to be isolated on this issue. And we will continue to forge close ties with Côte d’Ivoire! https://t.co/h8xU1D3mv2
Yes, so we've been told 😂 Also, in our defense, we got it right in the original German tweet: https://t.co/GbtXRaHNFC. Wrong flag, but our message remains the same: We will not allow IRELAND to be isolated on this issue.— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) 30 января 2019 г.
Those responsible for the ministry’s social media presence eagerly responded to commenters with some witty comments of their own.
Fun fact: "flag awareness course" in German would be something like "Länderflaggensensibilisierungsfortbildungsveranstaltung" 🙃— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) 30 января 2019 г.
11/10 for our comeback? https://t.co/lO7XEgUD1v— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) 30 января 2019 г.
We’re all confused by Brexit.— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) 30 января 2019 г.
Our colleagues in Abidjan just called — our tweet is trending there! (No it's not.)— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) 30 января 2019 г.
The ministry even took the opportunity to give the commenters a lesson in diplomacy.
Yes, we made a mistake, and well done for spotting it. We hope that using the word "Ireland" in the previous sentence helped to bring our point across? Oh, and the country's name is Côte d’Ivoire 😛— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) 30 января 2019 г.