Cole has been charged with improper conduct for making comments during England's friendly against Ghana that some fans complained were racist.
Inappropriate: Cole's suggestion that Ghana fans were illegal immigrants caused widespread anger
As Wayne Rooney today begins a two-game ban for swearing into a TV camera at West Ham last Saturday, the Hammers will be worried their top scorer may have to sit out key matches in their fight for Barclays Premier League survival.
Cole was deluged with complaints from among his 38,000 followers on the social networking site, even though he removed his posts quickly and offered an apology.
Watching Ghana's 20,000 fans at Wembley, Cole wrote: 'Immigration has surrounded the Wembley premises! I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha.'
The England international, who wasn't involved in the game, then posted: 'The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey and paint your face (with) the St George's flag!'
Enlarge Regret: The West Ham striker later apologised for his inappropriate comments
Realising that his comments were causing offence, Cole tweeted: 'To my Ghanaian brothers dont take it so seriously, it's just jokes! You've played well! Done Africa proud!'
And then he asked: 'Why are there so many sensitive people out there, it was a joke and it's not even racist.'
But the suggestion that many of the Ghana fans were illegal immigrants caused widespread anger.
Ade Sawyer, a writer for the website Ghana Soccer Net, said: 'At a time when football has been making a real effort to kick racism out of sports and when it is even more crucial for black people to band together, I find it disgraceful and extremely distasteful that a black person will be trading jokes on immigration issues.'
Under the Hammer: Grant was banned from the touchline for two games earlier this week
Lord Herman Ouseley, head of Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, said apparently harmless comments could cause offence.
'We continually urge the responsible use of mediums such as Twitter, particularly due to their increasing accessibility and popularity,' he said. 'What can seem like harmless comments can be deemed offensive by others and lead to unwittingly reinforcing negative stereotyping, including racist ones.'
West Ham were making no comment last night. News of the charge broke after Cole and the rest of the team had left for today's crucial match at Bolton. The player has until 4pm on April 13 to respond to the charge.
The FA confirmed the charge, saying in a statement: 'The FA has charged West Ham United's Carlton Cole with improper conduct relating to media comments.
'The charge relates to comments made on Twitter during the England v Ghana fixture on Tuesday 29 March 2011.'
Meanwhile, the Hammers have dropped a massive hint that Avram Grant will leave at the end of the season after refusing to offer applicants for a recent coaching post anything more than a three-month contract.
Upton Park bosses warned each of the short-listed candidates for the reserve- team manager's vacancy that the terms were only available for the current campaign.
The stance caused widespread dismay among hopefuls and has heightened speculation that Grant's fate is sealed.
The job eventually went to former West Ham and Northern Ireland midfielder Steve Lomas, who is confident of remaining in the post beyondthis summer, whoever is in charge.
While Lomas was prepared to accept a short-term deal, others were wary of the implications of a new regime next season.
'The risks were obvious,' said a source close to one. 'It's difficult toimagine any reason for restricting the contract to the remainder of this season, other than a new manager coming in who may want his own backroom staff.'
Grant, desperate for a result at Bolton today, looked a certainty for the sack in January after a series of sorry displays left his side bottom and turned many fans against him.
Fergie on the rampage: Man United boss questions future integrity of referees in rant at the FA over Rooney's banYou stupid boy, Wayne! Star plays victim as FA uphold his suspensionI'd have locked Roo up! Senior officer compares striker to drunken yobs
Explore more:People: Carlton Cole, Wayne Rooney Places: United Kingdom, Ghana, Northern Ireland, Africa