Here’s a tweet posted yesterday from the Twitter account known as @BPGlobalPR:
That’s just one of a steady stream of sarcastic tweets that, as of this morning, has attracted more than 96,000 followers, almost 10 times more followers than BP has at its own Twitter account.
CNET News offers a good summary of who might be behind the fake account, and what has happened since it was created.
It’s just one more episode in the PR nightmare tied to the Gulf Oil spill.
What I find most bizarre about the fake account, which was created on May 19, is that Twitter hasn’t removed it. BP spokesman Tony Odone told AdAge.com:
“I’m not aware of whether BP has made any calls to have it taken down or addressed. People are entitled to their views on what we’re doing, and we have to live with those…People are frustrated at what’s happening, as are we, and that’s just their way of expressing it.”
My heart aches for the people and wildlife affected by the oil spill, and I don’t see anything funny about the sarcasm. BP has bigger PR problems than Twitter. But if I were counseling BP, I’d encourage them to contact Twitter immediately and ask them to either remove the account, or at least include a disclaimer. Here’s why:
- The fake feed is stealing BP’s brand.
- BP has proven it has little control over anything, including figuring out a way to stop the gushing oil. At the very least, it should try to minimize the damage however it can.
- The fake account I mentioned here has prompted several other imposters to create their own fake BP Twitter accounts. That means trouble multiplied.
Am I wrong?
PR and crisis communications experts, how would you counsel BP? Should the company distance itself from information like this that further tarnishes its already-battered brand? What should Twitter do about fake accounts like this one? Should it treat them all the same?
What about BP’s CEO who told a news reporter yesterday “I want my life back”?
Update on June 9:
BP finally asks Twitter to make BPGLobalPR to post a disclaimer, and Twitter finally gets off the dime. The disclaimer reads: “We are not associated with Beyond petroleum, the company that has been destroying the Gulf of Mexico for 51 days.”
What took so long?