Twitter Hacking: The Newest Tactic in PR? #ProbablyNot

By: Jamie Dion

The sister networks of MTV and BET, both owned by Viacom, pulled a ‘Catfish’ on their loyal Twitter followers Tuesday night in an attempt to gain followers…failing miserably.

The networks pretended to hack each other’s accounts in a publicity stunt following the actual hacking of Burger King and Jeep’s Twitter accounts whose profiles were switched to show information to their rivals, McDonald’s and Cadillac.

MTV Marketing Director, Annie Schoening tweeted to pay attention to MTV’s Twitter account early on. So the question from the start was: Is this a planned attack against two companies that are clearly connected, or is this a premeditated publicity stunt to capitalize on the hacks of BK and Jeep?

ImageMTV and BET tried to mimic the hack by switching profile photos and logos. Burger King gained almost 30,000 followers while their hack was going on, so that clearly seemed appealing to the Viacom networks who were hoping for the same outcome!

The stunt lasted for around an hour when MTV tweeted: “We totally Catfish-ed you guys. Thanks for playing! ❤ you, @BET. ;).” BET then tweeted: “#fakehackedswag !!! salute to @MTV for rockin this!” Some followers seemed to enjoy the ‘hack’, but MTV received plenty of negative feedback from other users with tweets like, “@MTV @bet I wish I had followed you previously so I could unfollow you now.” and@MTV @BET we all fell for it, we actually thought maybe MTV was going to put on some music thanks to the hack.”

Social media experts knew something was up when they realized Shoneing tweeted with the hashtag “MTVhack” four minutes before the alleged hack even began.

It was a good effort to reel in some more followers, but at the end of the day, this was just a huge #FAIL.


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