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7 Examples of What Happens When Your Twitter Account is Hacked

It’s always a worry that you’ll tweet from the company account and realise you’ve spelt something wrong or left a word out.

But what happens to those unfortunate businesses who have their entire account hijacked – often with disastrous consequences.

It might be funny for us bystanders, but for the company who’s just announced something they shouldn’t have – it’s less of a laughing matter.

This is sometimes due to an unhappy ex-employee or you have annoyed a customer and they are out for revenge.

So what are the consequences when your Twitter account is hacked or hijacked?

Here are 7 examples both humorous and serious.

#1. HMV

HMV’s demise at the hands of iTunes and music piracy was a sore point among many devout music-shop lovers, and even more so within its staff. When the company went into administration, the closure of many shops around the UK followed, which naturally included a wave of redundancies.

In a passive-aggressive display against this, HMV’s Twitter feed filled up with the #hmvXFactorFiring – a blow by blow account of the firings going on at their head office.

Higher echelons of the company swiftly resumed control, and the rebellious tweets were deleted – but not before they got the last word (and the last few tweets): “Under usual circumstances, we’d never do such a thing as this. However, when the company you dearly love is being ruined, and those hard working individuals, who wanted to make HMV great again, have mostly been fired, there seemed no other choice.”

After the mysterious tweeter was dispatched, HMV tweeted an attempt at damage control, clarifying that there had been redundancies – just not in the stores, and adopted both the revolt’s hashtag, #hmvXFactorFiring, as well as their own, #savehmv.

#2. PayPal

One of the world’s largest online payment merchants came under attack from an unhappy customer, who used the business’ Twitter account to complain about its service. Considering that PayPal holds over 100 million credit card accounts, the company were quick to announce that it was only Twitter that got hacked, and nothing with personal details.

The hacker angrily tweeted about PayPal freezing their account, and linked out to, an anti-PayPal site that seeks to expose the “nightmare of doing business ‘the PayPal way’.”

While the offending tweeter is still unknown, the company had a large amount of cover-up to do when they resumed control over the account.

#3. Burger King

The fast-food giants were hacked by someone with less of a grudge and more of a sense of humour. Their Twitter icon was switched to McDonalds’ golden arches, and it was ‘revealed’ that the company had been bought out by their rivals.

Burger King’s Twitter feed became inundated with tweets referring to drugs, American rappers, and McDonalds. The social media team managed to gain control fairly quickly, and the following day revelled in the attention they got: “Interesting day here at BURGER KING, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!”

Luckily for the burger giants, the disaster turned into a social media success, and gained them over 60,000 followers.

#4. Jeep

The iconic car manufacturers were hit in a similar way by hackers. With a theme like Burger King’s attack, the Twitter account announced that “We got sold to @Cadillac because we caught our employees doing these in the bathroom”, accompanied by a picture of a bottle of painkillers.

Following the takeover tweet was various links to hip-hop sites and rappers. The social media team were quick to delete the offending tweets, and put the issue to bed. They handled the entire incident with a great attitude – evidently highlighted by their tweet to Burger King, “.@BurgerKing Thanks BK. Let us know if you want to grab a burger and swap stories – we’ll drive.”

#5. Fox News

To the delight of many around the world, biased American news channel Fox, had their Twitter account hacked. Rumoured to be behind the tweets was the hacker collective, Anonymous.

The Fox News Politics accounts tweeted that President Obama had been shot in the head and killed, and Vice-president Joe Biden had taken over in his place.

In an interview with Think Magazine, a member of a similar group, Scriptkiddies, said that “Fox News was selected because we figured their security would be just as much of a joke as their reporting.”

#6. The Guardian

In a prolonged attack on media organisations, the Syrian Electronic Army hacked the Guardian’s various Twitter accounts, including Guardian Stage, Guardian Film, Guardian Books, and Guardian Music.

The Guardian wasn’t the only major account to be hacked: the Financial Times, CBS News, BBC News and Associated Press took a hit as well.

The SEA are a group supporting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad in the ongoing civil war.

Despite having the skills to hack into huge global institution’s accounts, their wit is slightly lacking, leaving the original, well thought out message, “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here”.

#7. Associated Press

While the Guardian got away lightly in their encounter with the Syrian Electronic Army, Associated Press weren’t as lucky: following the tweets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1% in several seconds, as investors panicked.

The SEA posted several tweets, announcing the bombing of the White House and the subsequent injuries to President Obama.

American news station CBS were also hacked, tweeting “Terror is striking the #USA and #Obama is Shamelessly in Bed with Al-Qaeda”.

What about you?

Has your Twitter account ever een hacked or hijacked? What happened and what did you do about it?

Look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.




Why Do You Use Social Media?

There are many reasons we do things. Some of us exercise to keep fit, others do it because they just love the high of the endorphin rush as they get into the zone.

The why of starting a business for some is because of the challenge but for others its all about the money.

Some of us read because they are driven by the joy of  learning. Others pick up a book because they want to be entertained by the journey it takes you on. I still remember diving into books about pirates, tropical islands and sunken treasure and be lost for hours as my imagination took me to faraway lands.

If you ask a base jumper who leaps off  1,000 metre cliffs why they do it, despite the high risks involved and possible death. They will tell you it makes them feel so alive.

Sometimes we don’t even know why but we just do.

Successful companies start with a why

Companies with visionary CEO’s such as Apple with Steve Jobs understood that the why was important and Simon Sinek with his best selling book “Start With The Why” summed up Apple’s vision this way.

“In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently. We do this by making our products beautifully designed and simple to use. We just happen to make great computers. Do you want to buy one?”

Other leaders such as Walmart’s Sam Walton said that he wanted to make quality goods affordable and available to rural USA. Herb Kellerman of SouthWest Airlines vison was to bring air travel to the common people. Bill Gates vision was of accessible information for all.

Understanding the why can be important in motivating you to continue the journey despite the setbacks and obstacles. Sometimes the more why’s you have the bigger the motivation.

So what are some reasons we use social media?

Curiosity One of the reasons I joined Facebook was the curiosity to see what my friends and colleagues were up to. What were they doing in London, New York or Katmandu. The ability to peek and peer into other people’s lives is sometimes enough to get them to sign up to Facebook or join Twitter. Nothing like seeing what someone is posting or tweeting to catch a glimpse into their world.

Fun One important reason that drives many of us to use social media is that is just plain fun. Watching a viral video on YouTube that is so cool you just have to share it is just plain fun. Pinterest pins with their beautiful images and photos are addictive for many. Instagram with its fabulous filters turns photography into a visual fun parlour.

Learn Social media provides platforms and portals to dive in to and learn. It could be an ebook, blog article or a Slideshare presentation. It could be a YouTube video that reveals the secrets of basket weaving or how to use WordPress. Never has so much information been at our fingertips that can teach us everything from Photography to playing a guitar or even maths.

Experiment There is a lot of people experimenting with Facebook posting and publishing to see if image A works better than image B. Do pictures of cats produce more engagement?

Sometimes it is just fun to hit publish and see what happens.

Communicate Most of us enjoy communicating whether it is on Skype, Google+ hangouts or via a Twitter tweet. Some like it short and sweet others want to have a a good long chat. The ability to keep in touch is now global whether you want to do a video in your pyjamas or hide behind an audio stream.

Make money Making money for some is the big motivator . The social global networks can accelerate the opportunities to monetize your passion through increased online attention and connections that social media provides.

Build a business The challenge of building a business from scratch is for many people good reason enough to create an online business that is powered by the marketing leverage of social media.

Build a tribe Remember the schoolyard and some of us just loved having a gang of friends with similar interests and the bigger the better. With social media it is now possible to build a world wide community of followers that love what you do.

Express yourself In the past expressing yourself was restricted to singing in the shower, playing in a band at the local pub or painting in your studio at home. Now your writing, images, art, videos and music can be shared around the world with a click.

Make a difference Some of us may even want to make a difference in the world. The motivation of creating a legacy that changes people’s lives for good can be a huge motivation. Starting a blog and building a tribe can accelerate and spread your message at a pace and velocity that wasn’t possible before.

Search engines are indexing your content and making it visible to the world. This content will be online until someone turns the electricity off.

Creating content online that educates, adds value to people’s lives and inspires is something worth aspiring to.

What legacy do you want to leave behind? What is your why?

Want to Learn How to Make a Difference with your Blog and Social Media?

My book – Blogging the Smart Way “How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media– will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 120,000.