Today in News That's Sketchy As Hell, here's one of the worst social media gaffes we've seen in a very long time: New York Comic Con hijacking peoples' Twitter accounts without their permission.
See, attendees at the convention this week were given the option to connect their Twitter accounts to their badges, as Mashable reports. This isn't exactly unusual—in the world of Web 2.0, there are often valid reasons for linking your social media accounts to third parties: identity verification, cool contests... that sort of thing. What is unusual is when those third parties try to tweet for you without your permission.
Yep—someone at Comic Con thought it'd be a good idea to hijack attendees' Twitter accounts and send out messages without asking. So if you happened to be following, say, Mashable's Chelsea Stark, or Polygon's Brian Crecente, you might have seen some casual, conversational messages about how amazing the show is.
1 #NYCChttp://t.co/ykhDvP1SLj— Chelsea Stark (@chelseabot) October 10, 2013
Then you might have noticed those folks noticing they'd been hijacked.
And pointing out that they'd never agreed to let NYCC tweet on their behalf.
@WadeKSavage I authorized the NYCC app through twitter, but it never clearly said: we're posting for you. I know, because I HATE that stuff.— Chelsea Stark (@chelseabot) October 11, 2013
Obviously, a lot people were pretty pissed about this whole thing. Who the hell wants a convention pretending to be them? IGN's Greg Miller, for example:
Think these are real tweets?
Seriously, this is one of the most heinous Internet gaffes I've ever seen. What social media expert thought people would react well to this?
Just this morning, New York Comic Con addressed everyone's... concerns.
FYI - do not fret if #NYCC-ID tweeted as you yesterday! We shut this opt-in feature off so it won't happen anymore. Have a blast at NYCC!— New York Comic Con (@NY_Comic_Con) October 11, 2013
Notice the lack of apology, or regret, or explanation as to why they thought it'd be a good idea to hijack peoples' Twitter accounts.
We've reached out to the folks who run New York Comic Con to ask what on earth they were thinking. We'll let you know if we hear back.
UPDATE (6:06pm): We heard back. NYCC sent over a statement:
As you may have seen yesterday, there were some posts to Twitter and Facebook issued by New York Comic Con on behalf of attendees after RFID badges were registered. This was an opt-in function after signing in, but we were probably too enthusiastic in our messaging and eagerness to spread the good word about NYCC. We have since shut down this service completely and apologize for any perceived overstep. Please accept our apologies and have an absolutely excellent time this weekend.
- Your friends at NYCC