Did the definition for libel change or is it still “anything that is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents?”

It’s baffling that Greenpeace is able to continue pushing out tweets under the @ShellisPrepared Twitter handle, blatantly misrepresenting itself as Shell.

We know everyone hates big oil, but come on.

Twitter Rules are pretty clear:

  • Impersonation: You may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others
  • Trademark: We reserve the right to reclaim user names on behalf of businesses or individuals that hold legal claim or trademark on those user names. Accounts using business names and/or logos to mislead others will be permanently suspended.

Yet, this is what the parody @ShellisPrepared account looks like:

And it links to this page. An official-looking replica of Shell.com (it even claims to direct folks there in the header and doesn’t). And on the page it shares a hoax ad campaign that supposedly goes disastrously wrong:

Here at Shell, we’re committed to online social media. After all, it’s the fuel that lubricates the engines of internet communication.

In June, thousands of you demonstrated this by explaining, online, how Arctic energy production will transform the world and possibly provide affordable fuel for several years.

Today, we want to take the Arctic Ready message offline, directly to the drivers who benefit from Shell’s performance fuels. That’s why we’re launching a new campaign (deadline this Thursday!), from which the best ads will be printed and posted in strategic locations worldwide. With your help, we at Shell can tell the world how pumped we are about Arctic energy, and take the Arctic Ready message to Arctic-enthused drivers everywhere.

So take a moment to add your own slogan to our beautiful new collection of images. The next place you see it might be your own rearview mirror.

Because tomorrow is yesterday, accelerated.

Let’s go.

And then the site was supposedly overtaken by trolls who posted the following copy on the ads (there are endless examples):

And parody @ShellisPrepared responded ridiculously, escalating the hoax crisis to fever pitch:

How do we know it’s courtesy of Greenpeace? They brag about it on their website:

With help from the Yes Lab we built a special Arctic Ready website for Shell, which houses our new advertisements, plus a tool for you to create your own. Take a moment to choose a picture and add your own message – there are some great ones up already. We’ve even built a charming kids’ game – Angry Bergs – to keep the littl’uns happy. Watch the dollars flood in as you protect your oil platform from those pesky natural hazards. Unsinkable.

Real Shell has released the following statement:

Shell not involved in spoof video and fake advertisements

Journalists, blog readers and YouTube viewers have recently been targeted with scams launched by organizations opposed to energy exploration in Alaska.

Journalists, blog readers and YouTube viewers have recently been targeted with scams launched by organizations opposed to energy exploration in Alaska.   A contest on a mock Shell website promotes the creation of fake advertisements.   A video purports to show a bungled corporate PR event at the Seattle Space Needle.  And a false press release claimed that the company is considering legal action against the scam campaign.

Just in case there is any remaining doubt, Shell did not host, nor participate in an event at the Space Needle.  The video does not involve Shell or any of its employees.  The advertising contest is not associated with Shell, and neither is the site it’s on.  And Shell did not file legal action in this matter.  Our focus is on safely executing our operations.

Further, we care that people are not deceived; and in the spirit of intelligent debate on such a serious topic, we continue to offer our own (genuine) views as well as a few real facts about the challenges and opportunities of arctic exploration at www.shell.us/alaska.

But word doesn’t seem to be spreading as fast as the bogus tweets.

What do you think of this? And does this “campaign” really cast Shell is a negative light? Or Greenpeace?

(Fraud image from Shutterstock)