Once again, Twitter is in the news, and this time, it's because
of hacking. Both Burger King and Jeep have seen their accounts
targeted in the last couple of days, with hackers claiming the
brands have been bought out by respective rivals McDonalds and
Cadillac. A social media disaster in many ways, but there has been
a bright side - Burger King gained 30,000 followers as a
We can only assume that this is what MTV had in mind when they
decided to fake a hacking last night. Their Marketing Director
tweeted "Everyone watch @mtv right now... #MTVHACK" four minutes
before the first "hacked" @MTV post.
Putting aside how ridiculous this is - if my client got hacked, I
certainly wouldn't be directing people to it, I'd be sorting it out
- it's just not a good idea, on any level. Brands who successfully
interact with consumers through social media do so because they are
bright, engaging, interesting and, crucially, because they have
integrity. No-one likes to feel that they've been duped.
My overwhelming thought on this is that it's just very naїve.
You don't need to have been working in PR for even a decade to
remember the ruckus around "astroturfing", where brands were faking
grassroots PR online by posting reviews and blog comments under
pseudonyms. This is exactly the same, just using a different
channel. The internet is no longer a new and mysterious channel,
and we all know consumers are getting increasingly savvy - there's
no getting away with this type of behaviour. I'd have hoped that as
an industry, we'd have all grown up a bit.
If you want to read more, it's also worth checking out
Forbes' views for a slightly different take on the