It’s pretty easy to mistake fake celebrity Twitter accounts for real ones. Sure, many get verified by Twitter, but there are many that don’t. “90210” star, Shenae Grimes, has been very vocal about being denied account verification at least twice by Twitter.
And mistakes happen. Just this past week, The Teen Choice Awards mistakenly linked to a fake Twitter account for “The Vampire Diaries” star Paul Wesley. Before long the fake account had more than 10,000 followers!
This week, though, we were shocked when ELLE Magazine was duped by a fake Twitter account for its own editor-in-chief, Robbie Myers, then tried to sweep it under the rug.
On Monday (August 2) Creative director, Joe Zee (who you may recognize from MTV’s “The City“), was the first to tweet a response to the fake account after the person behind it tweeted hello to him.
After that, the news spread like wildfire. It was retweeted by fans, celebs, countless other fashion and entertainment publications, fashion designers and even ELLE’s official Twitter account.
What’s even more shocking to us is that when the magazine figured out the account was fake, apparently the same day they tweeted out a welcome message according to our source, it said nothing to its followers to inform them of the blunder. It just quietly unfollowed the now suspended account, as did Zee, and deleted its welcome tweet. Were they hoping no one would notice? Not exactly the best PR move in our opinion.
We’re in disbelief that the magazine’s social media team didn’t think it was necessary to tell its followers that they made a mistake. A source tells us that even ELLE employees who began following the account didn’t know it was fake for days after.
Zap2it reached out to our publicity contact at Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., which publishes ELLE. After we had to explain the blunder to our contact via email, they didn’t even respond to our request for a statement. News travels fast and ELLE’s PR director, “The City’s” Erin Kaplan, went into damage control later that same day we reached out for a statement.
On Thursday (August 5) – three days after the company figured out the account was a fake – Kaplan tweeted, “Hi! ELLE’s amazing Editor-In-Chief, Robbie Myers, doesn’t actually have a twitter acct but don’t u all want her to join & start tweeting?!”
Ah, a lesson for all of us. If your high-ranking company official suddenly joins Twitter, maybe you should verify it before you tweet it out to the world. And if you make the mistake of doing it anyway, maybe you should go on record about it as soon as you know the mistake was made. That’s social media 101 with a PR tutorial on the side.