The Big ‘So What?’ in Public Relations

The PR News audience—you—are typically an extremely engaged bunch. Communicators are not shy about expressing their opinions and weighing in on the debates of the day. So when we did a spot poll last week on a very hot topic—whether PR execs believe their Twitter accounts are vulnerable in the wake of the hacking of Jeep and Burger King—the response seemed to be, “not really.”

To refresh, Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked and made to appear that the account had been sold to McDonald’s. Burger King shut down the feed and apologized for the unauthorized content. On the plus side, it’s followers increase by nearly 30,000 as a result of the hack.

In Jeep’s case, the account was hacked a day later, and made to appear that it had been sold to Cadillac. Within hours, the account was restored.

Of course, having a Twitter feed hacked is every communicator’s nightmare, and naturally it led to questions about the state of Twitter’s security. Should a corporate account have significantly more security than an individual Twitter user? The consensus is yes.

In our poll, we asked whether communicators are prepared to deal with a hacking.

Fifty-four percent of you said yes—that you have a “strike team” in place that can respond within minutes, including with a contingency communications plan in other channels.

Twenty-five percent of you said that the twin hackings have caused you to re-examine your policies to ensure you’re covered. And 21 percent of the respondents admitted that there are no internal policies—and that needs to change immediately.

All good responses, and the percentages are not unexpected. But the total number of responses was below our usual robust level, which leads to a likely fourth—and unreported—response. Many communicators are not focused on Twitter security, and the twin hackings of last week did not motivate you to some kind of self-examination. Interesting.

Care to chime in?

Follow Tony Silber: @tonysilber