Twitter is closing down due to cyberbullying. This is today breaking news on all major social media profiles, technology and media related websites, news channels and even some huge radio stations. The omens about the end of Twitter have spread like wildfire. But is it true? The answer is NO. It a hoax, a scam, a joke, a prank. Call it whatever you want, but is not true. Twitter will not close, not today, not tomorrow, and certainly not the next year, which they have already mostly sold in advertizing.
But then, where the heck did this news came from?? Nobody knows, and most likely, nobody will ever know. And that THAT is precisely the real news. In this social media era, lies fly further than missiles, and usually do as much damage.
In the particular scenario of any major company (McDonald’s or Coca Cola just to name two of them) a social media hoax, that is left unattended, could cost them millions of dollars on brand damage. Let us recall the 2012 “Pink Slime” McDonald’s disaster. Somehow, someone manage to get a video footage of one of McDonald’s food factories using the so called “pink slime” food additive in the burger meat. In less than 24 hours the gross footage was spreading all over the world through facebook and twitter personal accounts. The money loss that ensued for McDonald’s in the following weeks was really, really high. The real numbers of how much money did the fast food franchise lost because of nauseated clients (due to the pink slime video) have not, and will probably never be disclosure by McDonald’s. Desperate to control the damage, the fast food pioneers launched a very successful “social media counter attack” using the well known tv celebrity, Grant Imahara of MythBusters, to show how the “pink slime” (technically called lean finely textured beef or LFTB) was perfectly safe for human consumption, and more than that, perfectly legal.
In the same line of McDonald’s “pink slime” crisis, Coca Cola had to face a major social media backlash after the release of its SuperBowl spot “America: The beautiful” a wonderfully made comercial spot that was meant to show “America multiculturality”… Yet it failed miserably. And not because the art direction, marketing intention or general production of the tv spot where poorly developed or badly executed, the advertizing is superb, it failed because several “social media trend makers” (that is people who have huge Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or SnapChat influence) panned the commercial for a myriad of reason. The pro immigration ban felt the spot banalized and “americanized” the immigration issue. The “Ultra-American” band felt the spot “alienized and denaturalized” the “Real America” filling the heads of the people with images of “non-american” like jews, arabs, latinos and africans.
In the middle of the social media hurricane, Coca Cola director Mr. Muhtar Kent had more than one laugh for sure. Sitting at the top of the “most iconic american company” Mr. Kent is a well known, and highly respected, turkish businessman. Under his supervision, the spot could not be more sensible and politically correct that it was. Yet… it was not enough for the coliseum that has become any social media. If you bleed, you are news. If you don’t bleed, we will make you bleed. Because controversy sells.