Yesterday, the Twitter account of a leading fast food restaurant seemingly went rogue and sent an offensive tweet aimed at President Donald Trump. And while McDonald’s blamed the controversial post on a Twitter hack, there have been some doubts as to whether one of the company’s social media accounts really did get compromised, or if it was a case of covering one’s behind in the face of a potential public relations disaster.
It wasn’t burgers and fries being served up on Thursday morning, but rather shade being thrown at the president, as the McDonald’s Twitter account fired off a tweet at Trump, while wishing Barack Obama was still president and poking fun at Trump’s small hands.
“@realDonaldTrump You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands.”
As seen above, this was quite a fiery social media post from a worldwide leader in the quick service restaurant (QSR) space, and it was no surprise when #BoycottMcDonalds began to trend on Twitter, with Trump supporters taking to Twitter to register their disgust. But there were also posts from Trump detractors praising McDonald’s for what seemed like a brutal dig at the president and asking the company to repost its tweet.
After the tweet was discovered and deleted by McDonald’s, the company claimed that its Twitter account had been hacked by an “external source” and added that it would be investigating into the matter. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, McDonald’s did not elaborate any further into the supposed hack, sticking to the succinct statement it issued yesterday on Twitter.
Not everyone is convinced, however, that McDonald’s Twitter got hacked. Many believe that it wasn’t the Twitter account that went rogue, but rather an employee of McDonald’s who wasn’t a fan of Donald Trump and his presidency. One commenter on a TechCrunch report on yesterday’s incident expressed his thoughts on the matter, theorizing that the tweet may have come from someone who thought they were using their personal Twitter, and not the company’s account.
“My guess is that it wasn’t a hack, rather an employee. Either they thought they were tweeting from their personal account, and this was a mistake, or it was an intentional rage tweet by someone angry and leaving the company. Not a hack, no way.”
I understand the PR Chief for McDonald's happens to be Robert Gibbs, former Press Secretary for Obama. —still think the tweet was a hack?
— Jim Hill (@JimHill10) March 17, 2017
— Proudly Deplorable (@jabney8) March 16, 2017
The above tweets are just a few examples of how Donald Trump supporters on Twitter have cried foul on McDonald’s hacking claims, often pointing out that the QSR chain’s PR head is former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs.
The Boston Herald also compared the new Donald Trump/McDonald’s incident to a related, high-profile social media mishap from 2011, when a Chrysler employee thought he was expressing his disgust on his personal Twitter, but instead posted the following on the company’s account.
“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f**king drive.”
The employee was fired for his accidental post, but in that situation, Chrysler didn’t claim that its Twitter was compromised.
Social Media Doesn't Believe McDonald's Vicious Attack on Trump was a "Hack" https://t.co/Z6MV6lxQX4
— NeuroEd (@innaroz) March 17, 2017
Speaking to the Boston Herald, Big Fish founder and Emerson College communications professor David Gerzof Richard weighed in with his thoughts on the controversy. He explained that this wasn’t the first time McDonald’s got into trouble on Twitter, as its previous #McDStories initiative resulted in a lot of customers sharing negative stories, including claims that they “found stuff in their burgers.”
While there’s always the chance that Donald Trump, a known McDonald’s lover, takes to Twitter and calls the company out, Richard believes that the company has nothing to worry about in terms of potentially losing a ton of business.
“There’s all kinds of conjecture. Was it a hack? Was it a disgruntled employee? Was it an employee tweeting from the wrong account? Those things have happened before and have not taken down a brand.”
Do you think McDonald’s Twitter account was legitimately hacked, or do you think the fast food giant is covering things up? How do you think Donald Trump should react to the McDonald’s incident, or should he remain silent on the matter as he has so far? We’d like to hear your thoughts on the comment section below.
[Featured Image by Alan Diaz/AP Images]