President Donald Trump has a turbulent history with companies, from Nordstrom to the New York Times. He is becoming infamous for insulting businesses over Twitter. But what happens when the tables turn? The fast food chain McDonald’s tweeted on March 16th, “@realDonaldTrump You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands.” While there are many who would be happy at this development, and of course plenty of others enraged, it appears McDonald’s is not suddenly professing an anti-Trump stance. The tweet was deleted and a few hours later, the official McDonald’s account released another tweet: “Twitter notified us that our account was compromised. We deleted the tweet, secured our account and are now investigating this.” And then later on in the day they said, “Based on our investigation, we have determined that our Twitter account was hacked by an external source. We took swift action to secure it, and we apologize this tweet was sent through our corporate McDonald’s account.”
Repercussions for the brand are already occurring. Even though a hacker caused the tweet, plenty of people are still blaming the company. The tweet coming from the corporate account is certainly not helping matters. As USA Today reported, “The tweets came from the McDonald’s corporate account, @McDonaldsCorp, which is separate from the company’s main account, @McDonalds. The corporate account is verified and has 151,000 followers.” The Kansas City Star showed a variety of tweets both humorous and negative in response. Some are calling for a boycott of the restaurant, like @RightWingIsland: “#boycottmcdonald’s @McDonaldsCorp Shameful POTUS slam, can your brand take this kind of hit? NOT a smart corporate move.” Other are blaming the Hamburglar.
Of course, there were those who found the incident hilarious. CNET reported, “McDonald’s is trending on Twitter with more than 90,000 tweets about the company. People have been tweeting at McDonald’s, offering to buy 12 McGriddles or 100 McNuggets for the post to go back up.” People are pointing out that Trump is actually a lover of the brand. ABC noted, “Trump, who is an apparent fan of the fast-food giant, appeared in a McDonald’s commercial alongside one of the company’s mascots in 2002. He was also spotted chowing down on a McDonald’s burger and fries during the 2016 presidential campaign.” Conspiracy theories also arose. It was proposed that perhaps former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs who now heads McDonald’s global communications committed an inside job.
Unfortunately, there’s not much else McDonald’s can do to rectify the situation. They were both quick and accurate in their response. They identified the problem, deleted the offending tweet, acknowledged the issue, and promised they were trying to figure out the source of the hack. While they took all the necessary steps, the response shows that not everyone can be satisfied. It will be interesting to see if Trump or anyone on his public relations team decides to comment on the incident.