Burger King saw a surprising upside after its Twitter stream was recently compromised: Tens of thousands of people began following its account.
The company had about 50,000 followers before the hack, but that number shot up to more than 110,000 after the incident. "Interesting day here at Burger King, but we're back!" Burger King tweeted. "Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!"
Twitter promotes its platform as a tool that companies can use to reach out to customers. But this incident turned that model on its head: Outreach efforts led to embarrassment with the hack, but then the apparent security breakdown aided outreach by generating new contacts with potential customers.
At one point, Burger King's profile message said that the company had been sold to McDonald's.
McDonald's denied involvement, tweeting, "We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts.... We had nothing to do with the hacking." It was unclear who was responsible.
In early February, Twitter said its servers had been breached by "extremely sophisticated" hackers who may have made off with the names and passwords of 250,000 users.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.