Fast food giant Burger King is the latest entity to fall victim to an apparent social media hacking. The company had to yesterday ask Twitter to suspend its @BurgerKing account after the profile picture was changed to a McDonald’s logo, and a series of tweets were posted to imply that Burger King had been bought by McDonald’s, as well as some more offensive updates.
The account is now back to normal, but for a time yesterday the @BurgerKing Twitter page looked like this:
The tweets have since been removed, but there are some screen shots of them at Mashable. It would be foolish to think that McDonald’s were actually behind this – the fallout of being found to have hacked a competitor’s online presence would far outweigh any potential PR gains that might be made. In fact, McDonald’s offered their own showing of support for Burger King on Twitter:
[tweet https://twitter.com/McDonalds/status/303575465237549056 align=’center’]
At this stage it is not known who is responsible for the hacking, but it does serve as a stark reminder that nothing is untouchable when it comes to the online worlds we inhabit. Thankfully for Burger King it has control of its Twitter account again and if anything, this little incident has probably acted as some rather good publicity. However, Burger King could have lost a lot more than just some time had the hackers started to delete tweets or unfollow people.
We often forget that impersonation isn’t the only danger that lurks for social network accounts – all the time you spend creating content can easily amount to nothing if you don’t have a copy of your online social history to look back on. This is also an example of the PR department of a global, household name brand asking Twitter to shut down an account – you can bet that if this had happened to a small business it would have taken a lot longer for anything to happen, by which time it could be have been too late.