So, Yeah, Chipotle Faked Their Twitter Hack as a Publicity Stunt, Have Earned Our Eternal Ire
An entertaining prank, or a startling breach of Twitter ethics?
On Sunday, the official Twitter account for the restaurant chain Chipotle started sending out some odd Tweets. We, and others, assumed they’d been hacked, even though the ‘hacker’ didn’t seem to get how Twitter works. As it turns out, there’s a rational explanation for why an avocado-craving Luddite was on Chipotle’s Twitter account — the whole thing was faked.
For about an hour, the user treated Twitter as if it were Siri, asking it to find an ‘avocado store’ and display their Twitter friends. Then they tried to log out by Tweeting “end twitter” and “please twitter.” But after Chipotle took back control, they revealed that it was all a hoax, and there was no hacking involved.
In addition to the publicity the series of bizarrely mundane tweets drew — they attracted thousands of retweets and 4000 new followers to @ChipotleTweets within a day — the tweets were a reference to clues for a puzzle contest called Adventurrito celebrating Chipotle’s 20th anniversary. The hacker’s search for avocado, limes, salt, and onions tied into Sunday’s guacamole-related puzzle. The grand prize for the puzzle-solvers? 20 years of free burritos, naturally. Upon further investigation, they’re actually only promising one burrito a week for 20 years, which has an approximate value of $9,100.
Chris Arnold, a representative of Chipotle, told Mashable, “We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people’s attention and make them talk, and it did that.” He said that feedback was fairly positive about the faked hack and that the company is considering selling a T-shirt that reads “Please Twitter end Twitter.”
It sounds like everything’s back to normal in Twitter-land. Arnold said that Chipotle won’t be doing this again any time soon, noting, “It’s certainly not a well you can go to often.” Indeed, this sort of stunt could get old very quickly. It’s hard enough to figure out what people and companies are trying to communicate in 140 characters, and in cases like the Associated Press hack that impacted the stock market, tweets can have serious consequences.
For your enjoyment, the tweets are below.