NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- AT&T elected Wednesday to take down a Twitter post showing smartphone snapping a photo of the "Tribute in Light" memorial to the 9/11 attacks.
The tweet appeared Wednesday morning. Accompanied by the message "never forget," it showed a hand holding a smartphone in front of a view looking north toward Lower Manhattan. The smartphone shows the image of the Tribute to Light.
Twitter users quickly piled criticism onto AT&T – many of them using strong language.
"That is so f***ing tacky," tweeted Matthew Rex.
"How dare you?! You're using this tragedy to ADVERTISE?" tweeted Joe Manna.
About an hour later, the tweet had come down, according to published reports. The company also issued an apology to anyone who was offended by the photo.
"We apologize to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste," AT&T said in the subsequent tweet. "The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy."
But Twitter users were not forgiving.
"The apology is somehow more insulting," tweeted "Gourmet Spud."
"This is like a sandwich shop going to a high school car accident funeral holding a sign 'Sorry your kids are dead! EAT AT JOE'S!'" tweeted Troy Blacford.
"It's even worse to lie about the reasoning behind it," tweeted Ryan Negri. "It was not 'Solely' meant to do anything but promote yourself tastelessly."
The photo was also posted to, and later removed from, the AT&T Facebook page.
Last week, the Onion was similarly deluged with criticism last week after a satirical story about 9/11 was deemed to be in bad taste by many readers.
The story depicted a parody advertisement for the Subway sandwich chain, suggesting that the company was holding a promotion for "Subtember 11." The fake showed a man diving forward with his arms extended as if to mimic an airplane, eyeing two subway sandwiches standing on end to suggest the Twin Towers.
"From the Structural Steel Melt on Tower 7–Grain bread to the Twin Chowers cold cut combo with Ground Zero–Carb vinaigrette on a Let's Whole Wheat Roll, we've got something for everybody this Subtember 11," the Onion fictionally quoted Subway founder Fred DeLuca.
The Subway restaurant company itself was among the critics of the ad.
"Like everyone, we are deeply offended by the fake story and ad created by The Onion," Subway said in a tweet this past Friday.
Ironically, The Onion received widespread praise for its issue shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, with headlines such as, "U.S. vows to defeat whoever it is we're at war with," "American life turns into a bad Jerry Bruckheimer movie," and "Hijackers surprised to find selves in hell."
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