Keynote Speaker, Marketing Technologist, Columnist, Futurist, Smart Ass

The Hidden Benefits of the @BurgerKing Twitter Hack for Burger King

If you were watching the interwebs this morning, you may have heard that Anonymous hacked the official Burger King Twitter handle @BurgerKing and changed all of it’s branding to McDonald’s logos and imagery. This could be catastrophic for the agency or the BK Social Media team who manages these accounts.

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While I watched this play out in real time, I was astounded at the sheer velocity of growth that the @burgerking Twitter account was experiencing. From my estimation, @BurgerKing was at about 77,000 followers to start the day.

Once “Anonymous” hacked the profile due to an alleged “whopper123” password, the buzz started spreading, the amount of @burgerking twitter followers begin to grow.


First, about 1000 new followers every 5 minutes or so. Then, I noticed the pace increasing. Then it was 2000 new followers every 5 minutes. Then 1000 followers every 90 seconds. Then, from 12pm CST to 12:10pm CST the account gained 9500 followers.

In the end when Twitter shut down the account, it had gotten to just over 111k followers, up from 77k just 90 minutes earlier.
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And while it is certainly a bad day to be on the BK Social Media team or their social agency or whoever it was who chose their shitty password… in the end, Burger King got 1000s of mentions, tweets, and was even trending. This is probably the first time that BK has trended on social media since the “Subservient Chicken” days. (h/t to @zenaweist for the reminder of those ads.)

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 12.43.14 PMOn a positive note, I’m certain that Burger King’s social signals will actually help increase BK’s Klout score, which is currently an 86.

Klout and online influence isn’t that big of a deal, considering your brand’s site just got hacked and the whole internet is making fun of you… but, it’s a small consolation… and I’m trying to look on the bright side for the BK Social Media team.

In the approximately 75-90 minutes of the account being actively hacked, the account gained almost 35,000 new followers, a top global trend, an increased Klout score and most likely, a brand new social media team.


Thanks for making this Monday entertaining, Anonymous.

McDonalds claims innocence in an empathetic tweet to Burger King.

This should be a reminder to all social media community managers to have REALLY, REALLY, REALLY difficult passwords. Perhaps, they should have tred the Norton Password Generator on their Identity Safe or a similar password tool?


UPDATE: @BurgerKing to post apology later on their official Facebook account after apparent Twitter hack. Some posts had racial epithets, references to drug use.

UPDATE #2: Parody Burger King twitter account @PretendBK & website pops up… Pretend You’re Burger King, a site where ANYONE can tweet anything. Burger King will never live this down. Oh my. I love the interwebs.

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UPDATE #3 Burger King didn’t apologize like was mentioned earlier… they have, however, got access back to their Twitter account. They’ve made it password protected, while they work to reupload imagery and logos… and to delete the old, hacked tweets.

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For a more in-depth analysis on the Burger King Twitter hack, check out Jeremiah Owyang’s piece, Social Media Crises Has Many Points of Failure.


Travis Wright is a Venture Catalyst, Public Speaker, Digital Disrupter, Marketing Provocateur, Stand Up Comedian, Tech Blogger & Brand Awesomeizer.

This Travis Wright guy shares marketing resources, industry analysis, interwebs strategery & random hilarity along w/ occasional sport or political rants. If you can stand his jokes and want his opinion on something, feel free to connect with him.

email: tw [at] traviswright [dot] com

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