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How to gain 30,000 Twitter followers: Burger King’s embarrassing hack

The official Burger King Twitter account provided a salutary tale in social media security yesterday, as hackers seized control of the profile and embarked on over an hour of mischief.

At around 17:00 GMT on Monday it became clear the account had been compromised, as the perpetrators cheekily changed the user name to ‘McDonalds’ and switched the profile and header images to McDonalds branding.

The account bio, meanwhile, was altered to include, “Just got sold to McDonalds because the whopper flopped =[” with its location listed as, "In a hood near you.”

The barrage of tweets that ensued included racial slurs and also references to the hacking collective Anonoymous and its affiliate Lulzsec, though the individuals behind "#OpMadCow" have not yet been confirmed.

Burger King asked Twitter to suspend the account last night and it seems order has now been restored, with its feed currently back up and running. “Interesting day here at BURGER KING®, but we're back!” read a tweet from around 02:00 GMT. “Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!”

The latter half of that tweet points to an interesting caveat in the story, as, in spite of the embarrassment, the Burger King account has the consolation of gaining some 30,000 followers as a result of the publicity.

It may have lost its ‘verified account’ blue tick, but at the time of writing it now boasts 111,297 followers – plenty of people to notify about the latest delicacies being crafted in those BK kitchens.