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7 Examples of What Happens When Your Twitter Account is Hacked

It’s always a worry that you’ll tweet from the company account and realise you’ve spelt something wrong or left a word out.7 Examples of what happens when your Twitter account is hacked

But what happens to those unfortunate businesses who have their entire account hijacked – often with disastrous consequences.

It might be funny for us bystanders, but for the company who’s just announced something they shouldn’t have – it’s less of a laughing matter.

This is sometimes due to an unhappy ex-employee or you have annoyed a customer and they are out for revenge.

So what are the consequences when your Twitter account is hacked or hijacked?

Here are 7 examples both humorous and serious.

#1. HMV

HMV’s demise at the hands of iTunes and music piracy was a sore point among many devout music-shop lovers, and even more so within its staff. When the company went into administration, the closure of many shops around the UK followed, which naturally included a wave of redundancies.

In a passive-aggressive display against this, HMV’s Twitter feed filled up with the #hmvXFactorFiring – a blow by blow account of the firings going on at their head office.

HMV Twitter account hijacked

Higher echelons of the company swiftly resumed control, and the rebellious tweets were deleted – but not before they got the last word (and the last few tweets): “Under usual circumstances, we’d never do such a thing as this. However, when the company you dearly love is being ruined, and those hard working individuals, who wanted to make HMV great again, have mostly been fired, there seemed no other choice.”

After the mysterious tweeter was dispatched, HMV tweeted an attempt at damage control, clarifying that there had been redundancies – just not in the stores, and adopted both the revolt’s hashtag, #hmvXFactorFiring, as well as their own, #savehmv.

#2. PayPal

One of the world’s largest online payment merchants came under attack from an unhappy customer, who used the business’ Twitter account to complain about its service. Considering that PayPal holds over 100 million credit card accounts, the company were quick to announce that it was only Twitter that got hacked, and nothing with personal details.

The hacker angrily tweeted about PayPal freezing their account, and linked out to paypalsucks.com, an anti-PayPal site that seeks to expose the “nightmare of doing business ‘the PayPal way’.”

Paypal Twitter account hijacked

While the offending tweeter is still unknown, the company had a large amount of cover-up to do when they resumed control over the account.

#3. Burger King

The fast-food giants were hacked by someone with less of a grudge and more of a sense of humour. Their Twitter icon was switched to McDonalds’ golden arches, and it was ‘revealed’ that the company had been bought out by their rivals.

McDonalds Twitter account hijacked

Burger King Twitter account hijacked

Burger King’s Twitter feed became inundated with tweets referring to drugs, American rappers, and McDonalds. The social media team managed to gain control fairly quickly, and the following day revelled in the attention they got: “Interesting day here at BURGER KING, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!”

Luckily for the burger giants, the disaster turned into a social media success, and gained them over 60,000 followers.

#4. Jeep

The iconic car manufacturers were hit in a similar way by hackers. With a theme like Burger King’s attack, the Twitter account announced that “We got sold to @Cadillac because we caught our employees doing these in the bathroom”, accompanied by a picture of a bottle of painkillers.

Jeep Twitter account hijacked

Following the takeover tweet was various links to hip-hop sites and rappers. The social media team were quick to delete the offending tweets, and put the issue to bed. They handled the entire incident with a great attitude – evidently highlighted by their tweet to Burger King, “.@BurgerKing Thanks BK. Let us know if you want to grab a burger and swap stories – we’ll drive.”

#5. Fox News

To the delight of many around the world, biased American news channel Fox, had their Twitter account hacked. Rumoured to be behind the tweets was the hacker collective, Anonymous.

The Fox News Politics accounts tweeted that President Obama had been shot in the head and killed, and Vice-president Joe Biden had taken over in his place.

Fox News Twitter account hijacked

In an interview with Think Magazine, a member of a similar group, Scriptkiddies, said that “Fox News was selected because we figured their security would be just as much of a joke as their reporting.”

#6. The Guardian

In a prolonged attack on media organisations, the Syrian Electronic Army hacked the Guardian’s various Twitter accounts, including Guardian Stage, Guardian Film, Guardian Books, and Guardian Music.

The Guardian Twitter account hijacked

The Guardian wasn’t the only major account to be hacked: the Financial Times, CBS News, BBC News and Associated Press took a hit as well.

The SEA are a group supporting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad in the ongoing civil war.

Despite having the skills to hack into huge global institution’s accounts, their wit is slightly lacking, leaving the original, well thought out message, “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here”.

#7. Associated Press

While the Guardian got away lightly in their encounter with the Syrian Electronic Army, Associated Press weren’t as lucky: following the tweets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1% in several seconds, as investors panicked.

The SEA posted several tweets, announcing the bombing of the White House and the subsequent injuries to President Obama.

Associated Press Twitter account hijacked

American news station CBS were also hacked, tweeting “Terror is striking the #USA and #Obama is Shamelessly in Bed with Al-Qaeda”.

What about you?

Has your Twitter account ever een hacked or hijacked? What happened and what did you do about it?

Look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.


Guest author: This post was written by John Philips from Cheap SSLs, who are a reseller of SSL certificates from the likes of Comodo, GeoTrust and VeriSign. 

Image by Shutterstock 

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Gary Mugg

    I wasn’t hacked, but I was counterfeited…took about 3 weeks to get the counterfeiter removed.

  • venkyiyer58

    I have never been hacked and I hope I will never be. I have absolutely no idea what I would do if I were, though I suppose I would get down to finding out and doing it on a war footing.

  • I login to fake twitter account,then can’t login to real twitter.

    • Looks like you were victim to a phishing attack.

  • Cindy Navarro

    “Biased American news channel Fox”? That may be correct, but so are all of the other major news channels. Actually, I call them Opinions rather than News.

  • Stephen Box

    Hey Jeff…check your facts! The only people that say FOX is (always) biased are left-wing radicals. MSNBC actually wins the award for the most egregious and ongoing bias (see Pinocchio Awards at the Washington Post) and, btw, amongst cable news channels FOX has millions more viewers than their next closest rival. Even the venerable CBS was recently caught spinning stories and doing selective editing on audio, e.g., the Trevon Martin/George Zimmerman case. Love the blog, emails, tweets, and the info on your site…was a tad surprised by this comment, though. Cheers!

  • Didn’t get hacked either but we got suspended by mistake for a few days. Wasn’t fun!

    Wrote about the ordeal here if interested: http://www.lucrazon.com/how-to-restore-suspended-twitter-account

    Have a great weekend! 🙂

  • Jennifer Fenton

    Just happened to me. I wouldn’t have known if one of my followers hadn’t sent me a direct message. I’m not sure what the point of it was – whoever went in sent a direct message to many of my followers saying there was a funny picture of them and a link. I didn’t click on the link so I’m not sure what was there. The biggest hassle is that I couldn’t send any direct messages as my account had exceeded the number of direct messages that could be sent out. All I could do was report it and change my password.

  • Elizabeth Joss

    I have a problem with someone who is using my exact name on Twitter and the same byline I used to use (but have recently changed). Luckily they haven’t used a profile pic of me. What do I do in this instance? I tried contacting Twitter but no avail. I also tried messaging this person to get them to change their details but obviously no luck there either. This could cause a problem since people searching for me on Twitter may in fact find this other person. The trouble is that they say they worked for the same company as I did which is not true. They are also posting some odd stuff (and some very personal stuff too) and I am worried that people will think this is me. I’m also worried that future employees may find this profile and think it is me…

    • That would be frustrating but I see no other way than to persist in trying to contact Twitter to take action

  • Nothing

    Had 2 of my main RPing accounts hacked, I was able to get one back but Twitter reset the password on my main one & I was never able to get in again as I have no bloody clue which email I made up to get the account in the first place. *sigh* my own fault there, buf Twitter won’t even tell me the email address.

  • Gene Martin

    You mentioned Fox News getting hacked but that was a nasty way to do it..Saying they are biased well that makes many wonder if you are the hacker!There’s nothing worst than the liberal new media CNN,ABD using show’s (not new’s programs these are show’s nd thats why its called GMA only)WELL these clowns showed how biased they are and still are by saying Clinton was in the lead the day before TRUMP STOMPED HER WEAKNESS…Yes your part of the reason in my opinion folks dont trust any report anymore..Yours was good until your predjudiceness revealed its ugly head..Have a good day….