February 19th 2013
Yesterday was an interesting one in the Twittersphere and across the social media landscape as the fallout expanded. The Burger King Twitter hacking quickly resulted in an eruption of re-tweets from the abused account, comments and the inevitable trending, jokes and usual blurb that ensued.
In case you missed it, the profile was taken over, its brand identity “hamburglared” and changed to that of rival McDonalds and the hackers tweeted a mass of generally nonsensical and offensive messages. It took a while to get a response from the real people at Burger King; the Facebook page wasn’t updated although a statement was later released to the media explaining that action was being taken to suspend the account and an apology to existing followers.
Needless to say, a stressful day for the social media team at BK, but was the brand really damaged?
It’s quite unlikely to any great extent, save as to a little embarrassment and a bit of banter that is likely to reverberate for a while (Tesco is still the butt of the odd horse meat related joke!). In fact, there is quite a positive spin on this. The account acquired an additional 30,000 followers in just a few hours and the stunt certainly got people talking. It would be interesting to see if sales went up as a result, too! Thankfully the attack was rather amateurish and most obviously a hacking stunt, but it could have been a lot worse if executed a little more intelligently and seriously.
Having said that, the gravity of a hacking and its potential effects have been exposed, and so it might be worth considering putting a couple of measures in place in the event that it happens to you.
1. Change passwords regularly.
It might seem quite obvious, but thinking about it, when was the last time you changed yours? Update them every couple of weeks if necessary and ensure that they don’t relate to the brand or products. (Whopper123 probably wasn’t the BK password, though!). Change passwords when a staff member leaves the company too, even if it’s amicable.
2. Limit and control access from devices
With most of us using mobile devices to interact on social media, make sure you know who has access to the account and across which devices, and limit these. (The HMV live #XFactorFiring updates spring to mind!). A misplaced mobile phone that has direct access to an account can cause no end of problems, so limiting access and ensuring that every device is as secure as possible.
3. Plan for every eventuality
Do crisis communications form a part of your current social media strategy? Does your social media policy have a management procedure in place to handle situations just like Burger Kings, much like a business continuity plan? Whilst it might seem unlikely to happen, it’s worth having a clearly defined action plan in place to ensure that matters don’t get out of hand and control is regained as soon as possible.
Serious bit out of the way, we give you the Top 10 BK hacking McFunnies!