Somebody hacked Burger King‘s Twitter account on Monday, posting obscene messages and changing its profile picture to a McDonald’s logo.
The tweets stopped after a little more than an hour, and Burger King said it had reached out to Twitter to suspend the account. A Twitter spokesman did not immediately respond to a phone message left on Monday.
Burger King, which usually tweets several times a week, said it was working to get the account back up. Typical tweets promoted sales on chicken sandwiches, or asked how many bites it takes to eat a chicken nugget.
But just after noon EST on Monday, someone tweeted via Burger King’s account, “We just got sold to McDonalds!” They also changed the icon to rival McDonald Corp.’s golden arches and the account’s background picture to McDonald’s new Fish McBites.
About 55 tweets and retweets followed over the next hour and a quarter, including some that contained racial epithets, references to drug use and obscenities. The account tweeted: “if I catch you at a wendys, we’re fightin!”
Monday’s appropriation of Burger King’s Twitter account was a relatively mild example of cybersecurity problems, which are causing increasing concern in Washington and for industry. Media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have all said this year that their computer systems were breached, while several NBC websites were briefly hacked in November. White House officials and some lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would make it easier for the government and industry to share information on how to defend against hacking.
Burger King didn’t know who hacked the account, and no other social media accounts were affected, said Bryson Thornton, a spokesman for Miami-based Burger King Worldwide Inc. Its social media team and an outside agency manage the Twitter account, but Thornton declined to say how many people knew the account’s password. He said they hope to have it working again soon, and will post a statement on Facebook later Monday apologizing for the tweets.
Twitter acknowledged on Feb. 1 that cyber attackers may have stolen user names and passwords of 250,000 users. It said at the time that it notified users of the breach.
Competitors were sympathetic.
McDonald’s responded on Twitter that it empathized with its Burger King counterparts. “Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”
“My real life nightmare is playing out” on Burger King’s twitter feed, wrote Wendy’s social media worker Amy Rose Brown.
Celebrity Social Media Troubles
27 photos Launch gallery
1. Beyonce was at the center of an Instagram uproar when she posed provocatively in front of a picture of The Last Supper.
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2. Snoop Dogg caught backlash when he uploaded a picture of him smoking marijuana with his teenage son.
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3. After pop singer Rita Ora broke up with Rob Kardashian, he implied that she slept with over 20 guys on Twitter.
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4. Gospel singer Erica Campbell found herself in the middle of a social media uproar over a skin-tight white dress she wore on her album cover.
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5. Floyd Mayweather posted pictures of his ex girlfriend's abortion paperwork on Instagram.
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6. Shaq was found making fun of a disabled man on Instagram. The man eventually created an anti-bullying program as a result.
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7. 13-year-old Willow Smith was the subject of criticism when she was spotted on Instagram with a shirtless 20 year old man
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8. Donald Sterling lost ownership of the LA Clippers from making racist comments that stemmed from a photo of his girlfriend and a black player on Instagram
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9. Kobe Bryant caught backlash over controversial tweets about Trayvon Martin and race.
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10. Nick Cannon caught tons of backlash when he uploaded a photo of him wearing whiteface on Instagram.
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11. Ochocinco was fined $25K for tweeting during a pre-season game.
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12. Mark Cuban was fined $25K after publicly criticizing the referees after the Nuggets beat the Mavericks.
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13. Al Roker tweeted a photo from a jury duty he served exposing other jurors' identities.
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14. 50 Cent sent cryptic messages on Twitter about ending his life.
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15. Rihanna had her Instagram account deleted after uploading a magazine cover where she appeared topless.
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16. Teyana Taylor lost her Adidas deal after making a picture of a battered Rihanna her profile picture during a Twitter spat with the singer.
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17. Roland Martin got in trouble with GLADD and was suspended from CNN.
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18. Ciara and Rihanna had a Twitter spat but have since made up.
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19. Chris Brown on GMA tweeted "I'm so over people bringing this s**t up!!!"
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20. Lady Gaga upset the National Eating Disorder Asso. with the hashtag PopSingersD
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21. Spike Lee tweeted the wrong address for George Zimmerman.
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22. Ashton Kutcher's ill-advised Joe Paterno tweet
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23. Kanye tweeted his opinion on women who use pregnancy as a money making scheme
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24. Gilbert Gottfried was dropped by Aflac for tasteless Tsunami jokes.
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25. Justin Bieber pretended to tweet his own number and causing trouble for a couple
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26. Rashard Mendenhall he tweeted his objection to folks celebrating Osama's death.
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27. Courtney Love accused a former Nirvana drummer of seducing her daughter.
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