Remember back when Facebook got in mounds of trouble for swiping users’ profile photos and using them to market ads without their permission? Wouldn’t it be really silly for another company to repeat that mistake? Yes, yes it would [cough cough AHEM TWITTER]. While Twitter didn’t roll out any such ads on a widespread basis, it did apparently make up glowing Tweets about a company and attribute them to real Twitter users for a promotional blog about its new ad platform. Silly Twitter.
In a blog post touting new integration with TV commercials Twitter can offer to advertisers, there’s a dashboard image showing a few Tweets showing users gabbing about awesome ads for a coffee joint in San Francisco.
Those three people are real, reports SFGate, but they never so much typed a single character about the coffee joint mentioned in the fake commercials, and the purported tweets are not on their timelines. They also didn’t know their Twitter avatars and handles were being presented in the post, something that was sent out to hundreds of thousands of followers of the @Twitterads account.
The guy who apparently tweeted: “What is the song in the new [redacted] commercial? I love it!!” says he’s peeved, to say the least.
“It’s disturbing and has no place,” says the Twitter user. “To use my image and fake a tweet is wrong and needs to be addressed.”
Another user shown in the ad is also ticked off at Twitter pretending he said: “I wish I could make fancy lattes like in the [redacted] commercial.”
“The Heck?!? First time I read about [redacted company]. Not a native english speaker. never even used the word ‘fancy’,” he told SFGate in a direct message.
Twitter has since replaced the blog post without the fake tweets and substituted it for tweets from its employees. It apologized to the Twitter users it used in a single Tweet, writing yesterday to their handles: “so sorry about the confusion earlier today. We’re fixing the problem now.”
That’s not enough for the first user we mentioned — he says he’s considering getting an attorney to see what can be done about Twitter swiping his name and likeness for their own purposes.
“Totally unacceptable tactic they employed and response. Not an adequate accountability statement in my view,” he says.