As many of you have noticed, the King has fallen to a hacking. This is a situation that could happen to anyone, especially if your password is an easy one to guess. Tweets from the hacked account ranged from everything from promoting rival McDonalds, to talking about drug use and other harmful topics. Some people have mentioned that Burger King isn’t normally getting this kind of publicity, but is it worth it?
This is one of those times when people start asking, “Is all publicity good publicity?” And the answer is no. Seeing tweets that could offend customers coming from a brand is never going to go over well with your entire audience. While this may cause a surge in followers and engagement for today and maybe this week, it won’t remain long term, and it isn’t from loyal customers. The new followers are people who wanted to watch the train wreck, and the engagement is the residual smoke. Also, you might think that Burger King might not get hit too hard, since they were innocent in this case, which might be true. But a hacking situation still does not give your team credibility, or make them look knowledgeable.
Avoiding and Protecting
So now that we all know we’d like to avoid this situation, how do we go about protecting our social accounts, whether it belongs to a brand, or a individual. Not all of these solutions apply directly to the Burger King situation, but they are good rules of thumb.
- Change your password every few months, and especially after a staff member leaves
- Avoid writing down passwords, for obvious reasons
- Don’t use words in your passwords, instead use a series of letters that only means something to you. For example: make a sentence in which the first letters could be used as the password. My dog is black would be Mdib is a password.
- Use both numbers and letters in your passwords
- Report hacked accounts immediately
- Change passwords on all other accounts after one has been compromised
I’d guess there is some apologizing in Burger King’s future, simply for the things the hackers said on their account. The account has since been suspended, so at least no more damage is being done. I’m sure there will be a conversation about Twitter security within their communications team, too. I think we’ll know more as we learn how their account was hacked.
I feel for this social media team, and know that they will be dealing with cleaning up a huge mess. I think the social media specialist at Wendy’s put it best:
My real life nightmare is playing out over on @burgerking
— arb (@amyrosebrown) February 18, 2013