Vodafone’s Christmas Twitter
competition has been hijacked by campaigners protesting against the company’s alleged
The competition, labelled ‘Twelve
Days of Smiles’ offers free handsets to lucky Twitter users who used the tag
#mademesmile to tell Vodafone what amused them.
However, within hours of its
launch, thousands of protesters, organized by the campaign group UK Uncut, were
using the competition to allege that the operator had not paid a £6bn tax bill.
Vodafone recently settled a tax dispute with the Government, paying £1.25bn.
Protesters allege the bill was actually £6bn.
The unmoderated comments
included: ‘You dodging SIX BILLION and now looking stoopid #mademesmile,’ and ‘Vodafones
epic social media fail #mademesmile.’
By this morning there were
few protests. However@threedaymonk
said on the site: ‘The idea that Vodafone might not be moderating tweets#mademesmile but I
doubt they're *that* naive...’
In a statement Vodafone
said: ‘It is completely untrue to say that Vodafone has an unpaid £6bn tax
bill. HMRC itself has called that figure an 'urban myth'. Vodafone has not been
'let off' any tax, [it] pays its taxes everywhere that it operates.
‘Earlier this year Vodafone
and HM Revenue & Customs agreed to settle matters surrounding their legal
dispute over controlled foreign companies law for £1.25bn, the largest
corporate tax settlement in UK history, which we are paying.
'In the UK, where
we are based and where we employ almost 10,000 people, our business contributes
over £700m every year to the Exchequer in tax, VAT, PAYE, national insurance
and the fees we pay for our mobile phone spectrum.’