@BurgerKing Becomes McDonald's: What You Missed in the #failurewhopper Twitter Hack
Well, that was meta. Early this afternoon I was sitting in a Manhattan McDonald's sipping a Dollar Menu cup of coffee and using their free WiFi when I noticed that Burger King, McDonald's and Whopper had all hit Twitter's Trending Topics chart at the same time. What the? Didn't take me long to suss out the fact that Burger King's official Twitter account, @BurgerKing, had been hacked -- and turned into a supposed McDonald's account, to the great delight of the Twittersphere. In place of the BK logo: McD's familiar golden arches.
The tweet that kicked things off at 12:01 p.m. read "We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you @DFNCTSC." (@DFNCTSC is a Twitter account with no tweets; DFNCTSC apparently stands for Defonic Team Screenname Club, aka the Defonic Crew -- a hacker collective associated with breaching Paris Hilton's T-Mobile account back in 2005.) The tweet right before that one was a legitimate @BurgerKing tweet published at noon on Sunday -- a promo for a buy-one-get-one deal on BK's Original Chicken Sandwich -- which suggests that Burger King's social-media team had planned to go dormant on Monday in observance of Presidents' Day.
Hacks of high-profile corporate Twitter accounts are usually detected quickly, but it took a full hour for Burger King and/or Twitter to notice and shut things down. In the meantime, @BurgerKing issued a steady stream of profane and/or inscrutable tweets (e.g., "FUCK A TOOKA GANG BITCH IM #300 @ChiefKeef" -- Chief Keef is a Chicago rapper; that's a lyric of his that apparently references South Side street gangs). A tweet published at 12:15 (and retweeted more than a hundred times) read "We caught one of our employees in the bathroom doing this... #soldtomcdonalds #failurewhopper @McDonalds" and included a link to a Twitter pic of a young man sticking a needle in his arm. The last hacked tweet I was able to access came at 1:00 p.m. and read "ANTI BROKE I GOTTA GET THIS MONEY." (At 1:18, attempting to access @BurgerKing tweets yielded a suspended-profile error message.)
And that, folks, is about as edgy and interesting as things got. In other words, fans of meta-media shenanigans who were hoping for a sharp critique of the fast-feeder industry or the burger wars were let down by the @BurgerKing hack. If you missed it, you didn't miss much; I managed to screenshot all the tweets on my phone before they were deleted, and believe me, they're generally not worth reprinting here.
Although whoever was manning the hack did manage to retweet a couple amusing tweets from the Twitter peanut gallery, including "They may be hacked, but when was the last time ANYBODY talked about @BurgerKing this much?" (from user @OAFEnet) and "Somebody needs to tell Burgerking that 'whopper123' isn't a secure password" (@fibblesan).
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.