Friday, May 28, 2010

Twitter Protest

Twitter is again being used as a back-channel for public protest -- but this time, the target is BP.

A very popular (but fake) BP Twitter account that purports to be the communications arm of BP -- @BPGlobalPR -- now has nearly 71,000 followers, and the phony tweet-stream fires off at least several digs a day at the embattled oil company. [Some recent tweets: "@BarackObama is "angry and frustrated." Well, so are we! This has really cut into our BP Goodtimes Field Trip Fund. #nomoredisneyland" and "Announcement: BP is in desperate need of some positive visual PR. Anything goes. Submit to us w/ #bpbillboard. ABSOLUTELY NO PAY!" The mock BP-stream debuted on May 19 with this tweet: "We regretfully admit that something has happened off of the Gulf Coast. More to come."]

But for a brief time Thursday, hackers elevated the protest by breaking into the real BP Twitter feed (@BP_America), posting at least one tweet referencing the phony one. "Terry is now in charge of operation Top Kill, work will recommence after we find a XXL wetsuit. #bpcares #oilspill," the hackers wrote. [In the event you haven't been following the mock feed, Terry is a fictional BP executive.]

According to Fox News and the Christian Science Monitor, BP got wind of the prank several hours after it was posted Thursday and is now back in control of its official feed and message.

But looking at the numbers, the mock feed still has the floor: @BP_America, the real BP site, has 7,200 followers while the phony one is about to break 71,000.

-- Marcia Stepanek


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