The National Lottery is the next victim of some of Twitter’s cruel users. Last night, the lottery tweeted an apology stating they are “hugely sorry for any offence caused by this malicious act.” So, what happened?
The National Lottery sponsors the World Athletics Championship in London each year. To raise awareness, they released a social media campaign this past week where Twitter users could retweet specific messages from The National Lottery’s Twitter, and they would find Team GB’s athletes holding up a board with a message that thanked certain users for their support.
To everyone’s surprise, including The National Lottery, these boards did not display message of thanks. Instead, they displayed rude messages such as “White Supremacist” and “Bolt’s a Roid Head.”
The National Lottery had a system that would digitally insert the usernames of those who retweeted certain messages onto the boards held by some of the UK’s favorite athletes. Some Twitter users saw this as an opportunity and decided to manipulate the username’s that the system received into crude and offensive messages. Soon after The National Lottery noticed the issue, they tweeted an apology. All of the distasteful tweets were then promptly deleted.
Camelot was contacted by IT Pro to see if they had anything to add. Camelot replied, “We are aware that some people were maliciously targeting our British Athletics Twitter campaign overnight on Monday 14 August with offensive and abhorrent content. We have disabled the campaign, deleted the inappropriate tweets from our feed and are continuing to look into exactly what happened. We are hugely sorry for any offence caused to our players, the athletes concerned and British Athletics by this deliberate act.”
Many Twitter users have been very critical of the company for not completely thinking through this campaign, as Twitter is notorious for changing the words on boards or signs being held up. A simple Photoshop can change any message into a cruel and malicious one. Twitters members also concluded that The National Lottery should have kept a closer eye on what was being sent in by user’s as well.
The National Lottery was not the first company to experience this, and they definitely won’t be the last. Mountain Dew experienced a similar situation by letting Twitter users name their next drink’s flavor. Somehow, “Hitler did nothing wrong” was voted in. The company decided to go with “Apple” instead. Soon, companies will learn to keep a very close eye on their user generated content, and hopefully figure out a way to not let malicious Twitter users put their company in a bad light.