The rise of the ‘fake hacked’ Twitter accounts….

Mexican food chain Chipotle appeared to have its main Twitter account @ChipotleTweets hacked around a week ago, but has since revealed it was faking it as part of a publicity stunt.

Apparently it added more than 4,000 followers on the day of the hack compared to the normal rate of around 250 per day. By the same token, the ‘hacked’ tweets were retweeted around 12,000 times compared to the usual daily figure for the account of around 75.

At the start of the year, the accounts for @MTV and @BET also appeared to have been hacked, but were faked in a much more obvious way in that the two accounts claimed they had hacked each other.

Accounts which were really hacked, such as Burger King back in February, 2013, actually gained around 60,000 followers following the event.


Is faking a Twitter hack worthwhile?

So whether your account has been hacked or not, the appearance of hacking apparently gains you followers at a much higher rate. That’s obviously a great thing for any brand, right?

Well, if I crash my car, a lot of people will slow down to see what’s happening, but hardly any will stop and help. So how many of those new followers are just taking a look at what they presume is a disaster, and will unfollow in the next few days, weeks and months? How many will actually engage in some way by following links or actually purchasing a product from a company which has claimed to have been hacked?

It’s an example of looking at the most basic measurement of social media, the follower count, by both companies and media reporting on these events, and not getting the details that actually matter.

Have you actively engaged with a brand after you’ve heard it was hacked? Or did you follow to just see what was going on?

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