Twitter faces fake tweet backlash

by Siobhan Leathley09 Aug 2013

One of the world’s biggest social media sites has been left very red-faced after posting fake tweets from real users.

Social networking giant Twitter was recently attempting to publicise the availability of its new feature, TV ad targeting, which lets advertisers synchronize promoted-tweet campaigns with their TV spots.

The blog post promoting this featured the latest beta test results - so far so good - and tweets from real Twitter users reacting to the TV ads.

And therein lies the problem. You see although the tweeters were real, their tweets were not. As you can imagine the users were less than pleased when the gaff was revealed.

One of the supposed-tweeters Neil Gottlieb, whose fake tweet read: “What is the song in the new @barristabar commercial? I love it!!”, said, “It’s disturbing and has no place”.

The SF Gate reported: “Gottlieb who runs the medical animation company 3FX in Philadelphia said, ‘To use my image and fake a tweet is wrong and needs to be addressed’.”

Another victim, William Mazeo, was unaware his profile picture had been attached to a fake tweet.

The bogus tweet attributed to him read: “I wish I could make fancy lattes like in the @barristabar commercial.”

In the aftermath, Twitter has tweeted an apology to the three users affected, re-attributed the fake tweets to Twitter Ads employees and added the following apology to the top of the offending blog post.

 “An earlier version of this blog post included an image with mock Tweets from real users of our platform. This was not OK. Once we became aware of this mistake we took it down immediately. We deeply apologize to the three users included in the earlier images.”