MTV, BET pull hack stunt in apparent bid to gain Twitter followers


In an apparent move to gain Twitter followers, sister networks MTV and BET pretended hackers took over their accounts.

Tuesday’s publicity stunt came after Burger King and Jeep had their Twitter accounts hijacked by hackers who switched their profiles to show information for their respective rivals McDonald’s and Cadillac.

MTV and BET, which are owned by Viacom, pretended the same kind of hacking was happening to their accounts by switching profile photos and logos. MTV became BET, and vice versa.


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The stunt lasted for about an hour until MTV tweeted: “We totally Catfish-ed you guys. Thanks for playing! <3 you, @BET. ;).” That was followed by a tweet from BET that said: “#fakehackedswag !!! salute to @MTV for rockin this!”

The two networks appear to have been motivated to pull the stunt after seeing the number of followers Burger King gained after it was hacked. According to Unmetric, a social media analytics company, Burger King gained nearly 30,000 Twitter followers while it was taken over by a hacker for about an hour.

After the Burger King hack, Thomas Fishman, MTV’s social media manager, on Monday tweeted: “Is there any real downside to the @BurgerKing hack? Mistake leaving the account suspended all day, would have seen a nice follower windfall.”

Although some users enjoyed the fake hack, MTV received negative feedback from other users.

@mtv @bet I wish I had followed you previously so I could unfollow you now. — IVPvideos (@IVPvideos) February 19, 2013


@mtv @bet we all fell for it, we actually thought maybe MTV was going to put on some music thanks to the hack. — Daniel Meissner (@Meich) February 19, 2013

Some users also told MTV that they’re likely to draw the attention of real hackers as a result of the stunt.

Pretend to get hacked is the best way to get hacked. RT @mtv: We totally Catfish-ed you guys. Thanks for playing! &lt;3 you, @bet. ;) — Torsten Beeck (@TorstenBeeck) February 19, 2013

@mtv You realize now real hackers are going to specifically target you and we’re gonna have to deal with them tweeting about Odd Future. — Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) February 19, 2013


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