Chris Bishop criticises Government over Ministry for the Environment's Wordle tweet

Chris Bishop and the tweet challenging Govt departments
Twitter users reckon his criticism is unfair. Photo credit: Getty Images / Twitter

Viral game Wordle has taken over social media feeds recently but MP Chris Bishop isn't happy some Government departments appear to be joining in the fun.

National's COVID-19 response spokesperson appeared to suggest departments like the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation should be concentrating on a plan to deal with an Omicron outbreak.

"One government department tweets out the closure of NZ borders. Meanwhile MFE, DOC, Stats and EECA are playing Wordle. Now, about that non-existent plan for omicron...," Bishop tweeted.

The post includes a screenshot of a Ministry for the Environment tweet showing a Wordle screen and a challenge to the other departments.

The tweet was subsequently deleted with a spokesperson for the ministry telling Newshub that it took the post down for failing to meet its standards.

"We have a dedicated social media strategy in place, underpinned by a series of guiding principles, which requires all social media content to be informative, relevant and of a high quality," the spokesperson said.

"Unfortunately, a recent post made on the Ministry’s Twitter account fell short of meeting these standards. We decided to take the post down and are now taking steps to ensure quality control processes are adhered to for all social media content going forward."

Wordle is a simple guessing game with a new puzzle launched each day. Players have up to six guesses to identify the five-letter word, with colour-coded clues given when letters are guessed correctly.

The game took off after a user in New Zealand used emojis to share their success on Twitter, which prompted creator Josh Wardle to build that option into the game.

While it only had 90 worldwide players in November, there are now over two million regular Wordle players, with many posting their results and challenging their friends to beat them.

Most respondents to Bishop's tweet suggest he's wide of the mark in criticising the tweet from the Ministry for the Environment.

One used the common saying "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt" while another claimed a government department's social media team probably wasn't best-suited to coming up with a plan for combating Omicron.

"So, the social media person at MoE increased engagement for each of those govt departments by tapping into the latest obsession on twitter? Is that your complaint? They did exactly what a social media person is paid to do," another wrote.

"They're not individually responsible for a COVID response."

One person who considered themselves skilled at seeing the "miserable side of just about anything" also took umbrage.

"Even for me, complaining about the social media staff taking part in the silly fun game is a bit much," they wrote.

Last week Apple took action to remove apps that had ripped off Wardle's creation, which is only playable on his website.

Wardle also teamed with a creator of an older app with the same name to ensure charity benefited from anyone downloading the app thinking it was his word game.