Login Register Subscribe
Current Issue

McDonald's scrambles to mitigate damage from Twitter hack

Reprints

McDonald’s Corp. was not lovin’ the hacking of its Twitter account in March.

A tweet sent from the corporate Twitter account of the Oak Brook, Illinois-based chain called President Donald Trump “a disgusting excuse for a president,” said the company would love to have former President Barack Obama back and made fun of the size of the current president’s hands. But the company quickly deleted the tweet, said its account was hacked and apologized.

While the episode is unlikely to cause any long-term reputational damage to the largest fast-food chain in terms of revenue, it serves as a reminder of cyber threats and the speed at which social media can spread damaging information.

“The McDonald’s tweet was a major media event, without a doubt,” said Nir Kossovsky, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Steel City Re. “Was it really a reputational risk event? Notwithstanding the major panic in the PR department of McDonald’s and the corporate scrambling that must have been very colorful, most stakeholders said, ‘Yeah, they got hacked.’ There isn’t an expectation by stakeholders that companies like McDonald’s be completely impervious to hacking.” 

“That outside malicious tampering is such a beast, it really is,” said Chrystina Howard, senior vice president for strategic risk consulting with Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. based in Nashville, Tennessee. “The one thing that has played out well for name-brand companies is that people have a fairly short memory. A single incident … is very easy for the public to forgive and forget.” Gloria Gonzalez