Tackling the issue of hacked social media accounts and privacy loss is something all public relations professionals should learn how to do. The hacking of celebrity and high-profile organizations’ social media accounts is not a rare occurrence. On Sunday, Feb. 8, Chipotle’s Twitter account fell victim to one of these hacks. A profile picture change from the business logo to a swastika was not the only offense. The tweets that made it onto Chipotle’s platform were even more offensive.
In response to the situation, Chipotle’s new media manager, Joe Stupp, sent out an apology after regaining control of the account. Chipotle was quick to respond and apologized on multiple platforms. As of now, Chipotle is investigating the problem to determine who was involved.
Chipotle’s Twitter is not the only high profile social media account that has been hacked this year. Taylor Swift’s Instagram and Twitter account was hacked at the end of January. Tweets were sent out from her personal account (which have been deleted) to her 51 million followers. In these tweets, two accounts received shout-outs. It has been suggested that these accounts are notorious hackers. Swift reported the hack on her blog and is having Twitter investigate what happened.
Since public relations professionals use social media for branding and communicating purposes, they must remember the risks associated with it. Chipotle’s media manager set an excellent example of effective crisis communication in the wake of its Twitter account being hacked. Stupp quickly distanced Chipotle’s brand from the offensive tweets and apologized. As Stupp and Swift showed, dealing with the effects of being hacked in a timely manner is paramount to a recovery.
By Cindy Kirchner
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.