Twitter Hackings Causing Quite A Stir

By Sheldon Levine - Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 7:30 am  

This Monday the world looked on as Burger King’s Twitter account all of a sudden looked a lot like their biggest competitor’s.

Yes, someone had managed to hack into Burger King’s Twitter account. The perpetrator took over Burger King’s account for a few hours and started putting out some strange tweets before Twitter temporarily suspended the account so no one could see it anymore. But that didn’t stop people from talking about what had just happened.

We used MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to take a look at what happened and what people were saying about it.

On Monday alone, mostly because of the hacking, we counted almost 481,000 mentions of Burger King. There were 1,842 blog posts, 2,783 online news articles, 2,112 forum postings and 474,215 tweets.

That’s a pretty considerable number as it was almost half of the mentions of them we found in the past seven days.

When we trended those numbers out over time, we can see that Burger King was getting a pretty decent amount of daily mentions anyways, but the day of the account hack it went through the roof. We can see the residual is still going on as people are still talking about this.

The social media community was all over this. We’ve all seen a few rogue tweets slip through on brands’ Twitter accounts before, but it’s not every day that a large world-wide company gets their account completely taken over. Below is a heat map of where people were Tweeting about Burger King from around the world.

While looking through what people were saying about this we found that the most retweeted tweets about Burger King in the past few days were those from the hacked account. You’ll notice that most of them appear below as though they came from McDonalds as that was what the hacker changed Burger King’s name and Twitter avatar to, so that’s how we found them in our records as. The one tweet that says “We empathize with our Burger King counterparts” is actually from the real McDonald’s account as they were offering an olive branch to their main competitor.

When we looked at the overall talk across channels in a buzzgraph we can see that the hacking dominated the talk of Burger King over the past week. However, if you look closely we can also see that Jeep comes up in the conversation as well, because Burger King was not the only one to have this happen to them.

The day after Burger King regained control of their account, the exact same thing happened to Jeep. What appears to be the same hacker went into Jeep’s account and changed it to talk about Cadillacs instead. The tweets it sent out were of the same nature of those that came from the Burger King account the day before, and once again people jumped all over it and started watching and telling others about it. On Tuesday Jeep was mentioned 68,000 times.

While it may not have been as many as we saw the day before for Burger King, it was still a pretty big jump for mentions of Jeep.

Luckily, both brands have regained control of their Twitter accounts and everything has gone back to normal. The two were even able to joke with one another about the situation.

It’s actually a very scary thing to think that this could happen to you or your brands’ accounts. As a community manager myself I know that it got me a little nervous to think it could happen to me. The Tumblr blog What Should We Call Social Media actually did a pretty good job at showing how most community and social media managers felt about the situation.

What do you think about what happened? What would you do if this happened to you? Tell us in the comments.

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