May 27, 2010

Just earlier last week a rogue twitter account claiming to be “BP Global PR” popped up and started tweeting some satire at an especially trying moment for BP. Interestingly enough, this fake account now has over twice the followers of BP’s legitimate twitter presence. Below are some sample tweets from the past week:

  • If Top Kill doesn’t work, we’re just gonna toss a giant “Get Well Soon” card into the gulf and hope for the best. #bpcares about 3 hours ago via web
  • The ocean looks just a bit slimmer today. Dressing it in black really did the trick! #bpcares 7:57 PM May 24th via web
  • We just saw a shark fight an octopus inside the geyser. Almost made this whole thing worth it. 5:49 PM May 23rd via Twitterrific
  • Please do NOT take or clean any oil you find on the beach. That is the property of British Petroleum and we WILL sue you. 4:11 PM May 23rd via Twitterrific
  • Catastrophe is a strong word, let’s all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy. 3:52 PM May 23rd via Twitterrific
  • Not only are we dropping a top hat on the oil spill, we’re going to throw in a cane and monocle as well. Keeping it classy. 3:12 PM May 21st via web

Historically, Twitter has swiftly shut down imposters of this nature when directed to by the genuine entity. The surprising news here is the non-action of BP; the rogue twitter account is still active, and it seems that BP has no plans to put the squelch on it.

It appears that after their initial hard line stance and unwillingness to accept any responsibility just weeks earlier, BP is now prepared to accept their role as a punching bag for the public and focus solely on the task at hand of stopping the flow.

Furthermore, BP has picked up perhaps on the cathartic nature of such a presence for the public. Shutting down this rogue Twitter account would only propagate more animosity, and create more negative press. Almost as a beleaguered boxer in the late rounds of a bout becomes resigned to his fate, stops punching back, and leaves himself open to attack, it looks as if this global juggernaut has thrown in the towel and is now taking it on the chin…one tweet at a time.