Social media crises are often due to a brand’s incompetence, inability to feel the ‘mood’ of their audience and sometimes when they just get drunk and accidentally tweet from the wrong account.  But what happens when the social media faux pas is not your fault? Well. Burger King discovered today exactly what can happen when your account is hacked.

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 7.54.19 PM

It’s not a surprise why hackers go after larger accounts such as this. Companies, celebrities and politicians are juicy targets for anyone wishing to make a name for themselves in the hacking scene. Often they do it for a laugh but sometimes it’s also for initiation into this community of black-hat computer genii. High profile targets such as Burger King have hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of followers and a person could do quite a bit of damage to a brand in a very short amount of time.

The social media community will laugh off the attack, not blame the brand and then the world simply gets on with their lives. This is the world of social media. Mistakes not brought on by oneself are easily forgiven. The people who hacked the Burger King account actually had quite a sense of humour. Whilst their tweets were outlandish it was the change in bio and cover images that made the most splash. They stated that Burger King had been sold to McDonalds (see picture) and it was because the whopper ‘flopped’. Many jokes were made about this and eventually after an hour the account was taken down by Twitter. McDonalds themselves even sent a tweet expressing solidarity and pity for their fast food rivals.

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 9.57.32 PM

Burger King actually made out quite well over this. Their follower count rose by more than 100,000 over the course of the hacking (something that the hackers themselves pointed out…and even demanded a royalty for their hard work)

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 9.56.52 PM

We shall see if those followers actually stay. So for one whole hour of horrible tweets, several hours of downtime, public humiliation (but equal public forgiveness and understanding) Burger King gained 100,000 new followers.

Not a bad day for them.


A day after Burger King was hacked Jeep found themselves the targets of the same hacker. Once it was over both Burger King and Jeep shared some kind words to each other.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 4.12.28 PM


Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 4.12.55 PM

Yet this isn’t so much about the hacking of Jeep but the ‘hacking’ of MTV.

MTV’s Marketing Manager alluded to the stunt prior to it happening

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 4.28.18 PM

Many of the tweets alluded to BET (Black Entertainment Television) and were sexually explicit.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 4.32.50 PM

Once people discovered that the ‘hack’ was fake they (predictably) acted with disdain towards the television station. Many felt that it was a foolish thing for MTV to do for cheap publicity. News-jacking is a very delicate operation. When it works, it works well. When it fails…well…you end up like MTV faking a hacking.

Denny’s, however, knows exactly how to do it and posted this picture soon after it was discovered that MTV faked the hacking.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 4.49.47 PM