Hashtag hijacking on #Twitter – Is it right?


Be careful what hashtag’s you use and think how they could be used against you by others.

Author: Nicola Porter
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 6 years old.

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Many businesses these days will have a social media presence online; include, among others, a twitter account. However, companies may not be aware of a recent trend which has begun, called ‘Hashtag Hijacking’, which could be an issue for your business.

Hashtag Hijacking, is simply where another user, uses your hashtag, for a different purpose than the one you originally intended. This could be using your hashtag to promote a product completely unrelated to your business, promote a rival company, or business with which you would not want to be associated with.

If you notice anyone using your hashtag in a way which is inappropriate, or you feel gives a negative connotation for your business then you should report it to twitter straight away. We highly recommend you keep a close eye on all social media accounts, to check how your data is being used.

Another way, in which hashtag hijacking is used, is where you are promoting a positive campaign for your business, and people use this to attack or complain about your business, whilst getting maximum impact. This happened most notably to McDonalds where they began a positive campaign called #McDstories, whereby they wanted people to share happy memories they had. People instead made the hashtag trend very quickly, to voice issues they had had when visiting the burger restaurant which were far from positive. This was obviously a huge PR disaster for the company.

You therefore need to be careful what hashtag’s you use and think how they could be used against you by others. Make sure your hashtag’s aren’t vague, so they can’t be left open to the interpretation of others.

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