Commentary: Anonymous hackers dethrone Burger King Twitter presence with McDonald’s theme
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 21:02
As of noon Monday, Burger King was bought by fast food rival McDonald’s according to its own Twitter feed. Unfortunately for Burger King, it wasn’t the one writing the tweets.
According to speculation and multiple tweets from the hacked account, hacktivist group Anonymous pulled off this latest account hack, which it called #OpMadCow, for reasons unknown. The entire ordeal lasted less than an hour and a half before Twitter suspended the account at Burger King’s request, according to a statement released by Burger King.
Even in that short span, there was plenty of time to make multiple tweets while displaying a Fish McBites promotional cover photo, which remains easy to find due to retweets and screenshots being uploaded to various news sites.
The first tweet said, “We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you” and was followed by a slew of restaurant-themed jokes, racial and obscene humor, and claims that employees took Percocet on the job.
Hacktivist group Anonymous seemed to take responsibility for the hack, as its account @YourAnonNews was tagged in a tweet from the @BurgerKing account reading “Everybody follow us! @YourAnonNews #OpMadCow.”
Another tweet read, “We’re guessing the @BurgerKing social media team is having a bad day...,” sent from Anonymous’ account.
Given the fashion in which it has built its reputation, chances are high that Burger King has done something to make it Anonymous’ latest target.
The question is what?
At the moment, there is not a clear answer.
These “cyber guerrillas” are known for advocating against Internet censorship (and advocating for online piracy depending on your perspective), as well as protesting organized religion (particularly the Church of Scientology and the Westboro Baptist Church) and corrupt government and attacking perpetrators of homophobia and pedophilia.
And while in the past we have seen Anonymous members and supporters, donning masks of “V for Vendetta” character Guy Fawkes, taking part in Occupy protests and the group taking down child pornography sites, joining the “burger wars” is new territory.
There has not been a recent report about Burger King coming out against gay marriage like Chick-fil-A did in July, nor has the food company made an official stance on software downloads. So at this juncture, it is unclear what could have triggered the attack.
What makes Anonymous’ motives difficult to pinpoint is that it is large, diverse and very active. And the group lives up to its name, as it does not claim to have any sort of official leadership or spokespeople, so no one person can speak on behalf of its beliefs.
It is possible that with the increased awareness of America’s meat industry’s practices, there is a growing animal rights sect within the group. Given the use of the term “mad cow” in its hashtag, it could have also been a statement about food safety.
But even then, what makes Burger King the target over larger McDonald’s, or any other fast-food chain?
This is the first public relations hiccup for the company since July when a subsequently fired Burger King employee posted a picture of himself standing on lettuce to the image board 4Chan with the caption, “This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King.” Anonymous members of the site helped get the Cleveland-area worker caught.
Stopping a group like this would mean practically bringing down the Internet itself. And, depending on your perspective on what the group generally advocates, perhaps you don’t want them to be stopped at all.