New York Comic Con Apologizes For Hijacking Attendees Twitter Accounts

New York Comic Con kicked off yesterday, and so have a stream of really enthusiastic Tweets about the convention like “So much pop culture to digest! Can’t. handle. the. awesome. #NYCC,” and “I can’t get enough #NYCC!” Problem is, these messages weren’t written by the owners of these Twitter accounts, but by the convention organizers.

Poygon’s Brian Crecente says he was one of many attendees who found out after the fact that he had unwittingly given NYCC access to his Twitter account so that it could send out messages as if they were written by him.

What he and others didn’t know was that when they activated their convention badges, they were opted-in to an agreement that gave NYCC the ability to Tweet via their accounts.

Following the backlash about about the Tweets, NYCC organizers announced this morning that they had shut off the opt-in feature, saying “we were probably too enthusiastic in our messaging and eagerness to spread the good word about NYCC. We have since shut down this service completely and apologize for any perceived overstep. Please accept our apologies and have an absolutely excellent time this weekend.”

Giving access to one’s Twitter feed is a too-common permission for apps and other services, and these permissions rarely specify what level of access the third party has. For example, some apps may use access to Twitter so that they can add the accounts you follow to an address book, or allow you to cross-post Tweets between services. Others will use the access so they can actually post Tweets for you, but they are usually pre-written fill-in-the-blank types of messages like “Johnny just visited XYZ boutique…”

What concerns us about the NYCC example is both that the organizers were apparently not clear enough to attendees that they would be writing these Tweets. Furthermore, the Tweets were word so as to give the appearance of being written by the actual attendees, who may not have shared that level of enthusiasm.

It’s one thing for NYCC to Tweet that “Steve has arrived at NYCC” or something similar; it’s another to tell all of his followers that Steve “can’t get enough” when he may indeed be bored out of his mind.