SMEs are being advised to keep an eye on the security of their social media accounts, after a “compromised” McDonald’s Twitter account told US President Donald Trump he was “disgusting”.
“@realDonaldTrump You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands,” the @McDonaldsCorp account tweeted.
The Guardian reports, the tweet was sent at approximately 12.15am on Friday (AEDT), or 9.16am Eastern Standard Time, and garnered around 1400 retweets and 1500 likes before being deleted 15 minutes later.
The account that sent the tweet, @McDonaldsCorp, is McDonald’s account for corporate relations and has around 154,000 followers.
During the 15 minutes the tweet was live, it was pinned to the top of the account’s page so users would see it before any other tweet.
Many Twitter users have suggested the fiery message was sent by a disgruntled employee gone rogue, or a worker who mistakenly believed they were logged into their personal account.
at first i thought this was your classic “employee mistakenly tweets from corporate account” scenario. then McDonalds pinned the tweet pic.twitter.com/B9qj9HzXnm
— Nate Goldman (@NateGoldman) March 16, 2017
However, in a tweet and a follow-up statement, McDonald’s said the Twitter account was “compromised” and hacked by an “external source”.
“Based on our investigation, we have determined that our Twitter account was hacked by an external source,” the company said.
“We took swift action to secure it, and we apologise this tweet was sent through our corporate McDonald’s account.”
Social media expert Catriona Pollard, from CP Communications, told SmartCompany while it is difficult to know if the account was in fact hacked, it’s another reminder for SMEs to keep watch over their social media accounts.
“The first thing organisations and businesses need to learn from this is that they need to have strict policies on which employees can access any social media accounts,” Pollard says.
“There needs to be clear and concise guidelines for what is acceptable for social media.”
Pollard also believes security of social media accounts must be paramount, regardless of the size of the business.
“Regularly change your password and make sure you’re on top of who has access to passwords as well. Additionally, ensure your firewalls and antivirus are set up accordingly,” she says.
Exploring the possibility the tweet was posted by an employee who believed they were posting from a personal account, Pollard says businesses should also have clear conversations with employees about double-checking what they post and where they post it.
“A lot of social media managers are managing multiple accounts within the business, along with their personal account. With this in mind, employers should have a conversation with employees about being careful and double-checking before posting anything,” she says.
“There needs to be a duty of care from the employee’s perspective, but it’s also the employer’s responsibility to have conversations about policy.”