Twitter porn hits 800 UK bank followers, media and government

Twitter porn hits 800 UK bank followers, media and government

Summary: Twitter porn has hit all 800 of First Direct's Twitter followers. Last night, we started to see all sorts of Twitter weirdness.

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Twitter porn has hit all 800 of First Direct's Twitter followers. Last night, we started to see all sorts of Twitter weirdness. Once again, it seemed the phishing attack reported earlier in the week had resurrected. Pretty soon it became apparent something else was going on.

Different messages were appearing (see illustration from my @replies stream) but broadly along the same lines. This morning, my EU followers woke up to what seemed a bewildering array of Twitter porn. It seems the same or similar happened to First Direct, leaving them as confused and bemused as the rest of us:

The tweet, posted at 05.30 read: 'hey, I've been having better sex and longer with this here', and pointed to a link to third party site.

The bank resumed control during business hours with the following message: 'Hi all, I'm sure you can tell, but we were hacked last night - please disregard any inappropriate tweets that purport to come from us!'

This was followed by a slightly panicky clarification: 'Re. previous Tweet I just want to clarify that only our Twitter account has been hacked!!! We've changed our password so all should be well.'

Which prompted a third message: 'no password issues, it was a link in a DM. No customer / personal data has been compromised. Sorry for any offense caused.'

First Direct is the only UK bank that has openly embraced Twitter. According to the Finextra report:

...it has won plaudits and applause in social media circles for its willingness to engage with customers in a Web 2.0-connected environment.

According to the UK's Guardian:

Among those who fell victim were the Press Complaints Commission Nick Higham- and the Guardian's head of audio Matt Wells.

Update: other victims included Ed Miliband, the transport minister.

It is perhaps an indication of just how unthinking Web 2.0 marketers can be that they applaud a company that subsequently falls foul of Twitter scams yet never point up these types of risk. This being Twitter, there was nothing about the incident on the main status update page. (as at the time of hitting the 'go' button on this post.)

Surely the time has come for vendors scrambling to integrate Twitter to start thinking again? By the same token those market mavens who scream about how dopey people like I am for poo-poo'ing social media might want to take a lesson or two in basic computing security as it applies to enterprise.

My advice to anyone today thinking about incorporating Twitter into their systems is simple: don't do it anywhere near a business application. You're taking too big a risk in all sorts of compliance areas.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Banking, Government, Government US

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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8 comments
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  • Thank you!

    Our Communications department aka "twitter central" just got copied on this article.
    Allesmachine
  • RE: Twitter porn hits 800 UK bank followers, media and government

    It's Twitter... who really cares?
    mikejwatson
    • Many...

      65+ million sign ups care. Your point?
      dahowlett
  • RE: Twitter porn hits 800 UK bank followers, media and government

    So what kind of implication this has with Salesforce.com
    promoting "Chatter" which is precisely using Twitter and
    Facebook, as add-ons?
    pmi63
    • Good question

      I get a lot if these kinds of question. The difference between Twitter and
      offerings like Chatter is that Twitter is pretty much open via the API.
      Chatter (Yammer etc) are far better controlled with a 'behind the firewall
      agenda.' Right now that's OK but if you want to realize the cloud vision to
      which Benioff is alluding then expansion to the whole value chain requires
      a bit of head scratching. The theory is in place, the practice less so.
      dahowlett
  • RE: Twitter porn hits 800 UK bank followers, media and government

    Great article.
    Darth Malus
  • Good for them!

    I understand how such messages could offend some people,
    but really, those people are going to be offended all
    through life no matter what. Its awesome to see a company
    take a more relaxed view to their public relations.
    shadfurman
  • RE: Twitter porn hits 800 UK bank followers, media and government

    I did not know you could delete twitter posts, how do you do
    that? do you have to login directly to twitter.com? (something
    I have not done more than 2 or 3 times since opening the
    account, once after I authorized a 3rd party app to have
    access and the next time I sent a tweet what showed up was not
    what I sent and had multiple links to weird websites)
    aiellenon