Burger King gains 30,000 new Twitter followers as account returns after hacking incident

Burger King has returned to Twitter with almost 30,000 more followers after its account was hacked last night and rebranded as McDonald’s. The burger chain lost control of its account and began sending out a string of McDonald’s related tweets.

The @BurgerKing Twitter account had little more than 80,000 followers when it was hacked, however, in the wake of the account takeover this has leapt to 111,314 giving it a gain of 30,000 followers and a wave of free publicity.

The account had not been particularly active prior to the hack, sending out only 1,272 tweets, and had only a fraction of the followers of its rival @McDonalds (965,013), which has sent in the region of 10,000 tweets.

The hacking attack provides Burger King not only with a lift in follower numbers, but the chance to think again about its Twitter account and maybe give it a renewed focus. The tweet sent saying it was back has been retweeted almost 3,000 times.

The hack comes two weeks after Twitter warned 250,000 users that their accounts may have been hacked by what it said was an “extremely sophisticated” attack. Twitter reset the password for those accounts and it is not thought that the hack on Burger King was related to this incident.

The attack had more in common with what happened at HMV where someone in the social media team live tweeted redundancies at the troubled entertainment retailer firm.

It seems more likely that the password was either something quite simple, which is not uncommon with corporate accounts used by multiple people, and was guessed or that someone shared it.

Burger King asked Twitter to suspend its account last night a little after six o’clock having lost control of its account around 5pm.

At that time Burger King’s Twitter profile picture was replaced with the McDonald’s logo, and the background image was also changed to show McDonald’s new Fish McBites, and this message was then sent on its Twitter feed: “Just got sold to McDonalds because the whopper flopped.”

One tweet from the Burger King account sent by the hacker promoted McDonald’s food, posting: ‘Try our new BK (sm) Bath Salt! 99% Pure MDPV! Buy a Big Mac, get a gram free!’

The tweets then descended into a far from family friend string of drug references and obscenities.

A spokesman for Burger King said: “It has come to our attention that the Twitter account of Burger King brand has been hacked. We have worked directly with administrators to suspend the account until we are able to re-establish our legitimate site and authentic postings.

“We apologise to our followers who have been receiving erroneous tweets about other members of our industry and additional inappropriate topics.”

In case there was anyone out there who thought that McDonald’s had really been involved in someway it posted a message on its own Twitter account telling people: “We empathise with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”

No one came forth and claimed the incident although hacking group Anonymous: “Tweeted we’re guessing the @BurgerKing social media team is having a bad day.”

Wendy’s also made clear that it was not involved as it sent a response to an inquiry.