At about 2 a.m. this morning, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Twitter account was hacked.
The handle began to fire off expletives, racial, and homophobic slurs under the image of a swastika for a little over an hour until Chipotle was able to regain control.
Read their released response here.
But this wasn’t the first time a business’s account was abused, intentionally or not.
With so many of today’s major business players opting to include themselves in the massive social media movement to better reach the consumer, they face new and unique risks. Over the last year, inappropriate images have accidentally been shared, private tweets exposed, and hashtag trends gone all wrong. (DiGiorno, I’m talking to you.)
Each mishap puts the company in the midst of brand damage and corporate reputation ruin. Every time someone logs into a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other form of social media, security is a looming issue. The devices are vulnerable to data leakage, data theft, infection and more. The employees themselves risk the the company and their jobs by sending out information that was meant for their personal accounts- such as in the case of a Red Cross employee accidentally tweeting his desire to “get slizzerd”.
Sometimes, as in the above case, however, a social media flop can result in positive consequences. Dogfish Beer picked up the #gettinslizzerd hashtag and successfully encouraged followers to donate. If the situation is caused outwardly or remedied quickly, or if the mistake wasn’t too severe or crude, good PR can cause a quick bounce-back.
When used correctly, it’s a crucial and irreplaceable communication toolkit. Still, it’s important to be safe than sorry on social media- even more so when one represents a corporation.