The newest front in the ongoing spat over the BP oil spill? Twitter, naturally. For a brief time on Thursday morning, hackers broke into the official BP Twitter feed, and posted at least one tweet referencing a very popular fake BP Twitter account. "Terry is now in charge of operation Top Kill, work will recommence after we find a XXL wetsuit. #bpcares #oilspill," the hackers wrote.
For the uninitiated, Terry is a recurring character over on BPGlobalPR, a Twitter feed purporting to be the communications arm of BP. The folks at BPGlobalPR typically roll out several humorous one-liners a day. ("Just got the concession call from Exxon Valdez. They were great competitors and remarkably evil about everything," reads a recent post.)
To judge by the metrics, more people are interested in reading @BPGlobalPR than @BP_America, which is the real BP site. @BP_America, for instance, has approximately 7,200 followers. @BPGlobalPR has just under 60,000 followers. But obviously some folks weren't having enough fun on @BPGlobalPR, so they took the party over to @BP_America.
According to Fox News, the offending tweet was up on the official BP feed for only a brief time before it was caught by an eagle-eyed BP employee. As of early Thursday afternoon, the most recent tweet from @BP_America announcing progress on clean-up efforts.
Twitter has long been a popular platform for organizing protests, but the social network's big test arrived last year, when thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest results of a contentious presidential election. During the ensuing demonstrations, Twitter was useful as an organization tool, and also as a soapbox – many Western media sources were kept appraised of the events via tweets and photos posted to Twitter.