(Adds updated McDonald's statement)
By Lisa Baertlein
LOS ANGELES, March 16 McDonald's Corp
quickly deleted a tweet sent from the company's handle slamming
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday and said its official
Twitter account had been compromised.
The tweet, which was copied and shared widely before being
deleted, came a day after the Twitter accounts of a number of
major news organizations, chief executives, government agencies
and other high-profile users were hijacked.
"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," McDonald's
spokeswoman Terri Hickey said in a statement.
Corporate accounts are attractive targets due to their large
followings and the media attention that errant tweets can
attract. Twitter Inc allows for two-factor
authentication, a security feature that would deter many
attempts to seize an account.
Twitter declined comment on Thursday citing "privacy and
The tweet sent from @McDonaldsCorp on Thursday morning read:
"@realdonaldtrump You are actually a disgusting excuse of a
President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you
have tiny hands."
Trump did not respond to the incident on Twitter.
High-profile Twitter accounts were hijacked on Wednesday to
send anti-Nazi messages in Turkish in the midst of a diplomatic
spat between Turkey, the Netherlands and Germany. Twitter said
on Wednesday that the source of that attack was a third-party
app, whose permissions have since been removed.
Trump, one of the more fast-food friendly presidents in
recent years, had tweeted pictures of himself eating food from
McDonald's and other chains during the U.S. election campaign. A
2002 ad campaign featured Trump and the chain's Grimace mascot
promoting an "amazing" $1 deal for McDonald's since-discontinued
Big N' Tasty burger.
The incident came as McDonald's is bolstering its digital
capabilities with mobile and kiosk ordering to help modernize
the 60-year-old chain.
Analysts said the hack raised questions about security at
Twitter, but was unlikely to do much damage to the restaurant
"As long as Trump doesn't tweet at them directly, which
could be pretty disastrous, this will be a short-term thing for
them," said Mike Froggatt, director of intelligence at L2, which
monitors the digital performance of brands.
"Twitter trending topics last for maybe 6 hours, a backlash
for 10 to 12 hours and then it goes and the herd moves on," said
The message from the account of the world's largest
restaurant chain caused a sensation on Twitter, where users
shared copies of the deleted tweet and offered jokes and
Vanessa Veasley and other users speculated that Trump
supporters could attempt to launch a boycott of the chain, as
they threatened to do when Starbucks Corp Chief
Executive Howard Schultz vowed to hire 10,000 refugees after
Trump's first executive order temporarily banning refugees from
"McDonald's already deleted the tweet? lol Well at least
Trump supporters can finally boycott something they can actually
afford," Veasley (@VanessaVeasley) wrote.
Other users praised the fast-food chain, which has been
fighting to reverse two straight years of customer traffic
"Suddenly I want a Big Mac, well done @McDonalds," tweeted
Shay Steward Bouley (@blackgirlinmain).
Some Trump supporters said McDonald's had not done enough to
atone for the tweet and advocated for a boycott.
"Hey @McDonaldsCorp YOU can't just undo a tweet!!!
Since you don't support America, Americans will not support
YOU!!! #BoycottMcDonalds," wrote Deborah Brewer (@Debbie92083).
McDonald's is not the only high-profile company to be
compromised with fake tweets over the years. Brands including
Burger King, Jeep and Sony Music also have
(Reporting Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles, David Ingram in San
Francisco, Gina Cherelus and Angela Moon in New York, Dustin
Volz in Washington, D.C., Nandita Bose in Chicago and Sweta
Singh and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb
Chakrabarty and Meredith Mazzilli)