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PR, Perfected: Protecting Your Brand Online

Defend your brand's social media presence with these precautionary tips and response tactics

By Jessica Howell - April 27, 2010
Every day, technology places communication tools more easily within consumer reach. But with the prolific integration of online networking emerges the underbelly of social media, ripe with hackers, squatters and a slew of Internet-savvy coders harboring ill intent.

In February 2010, United Airlines made news after its Twitter page was hacked with inappropriate, sexually-explicit messages. The company quickly deleted the offending posts and issued an apology to its then 57,000 followers: "We're sure you know that tweet wasn't ours. Our Twitter account was hacked. Problem resolved. Sorry about that." Simple and succinct. (And really, in what other way can you respond when limited to 140 characters?) It seems even the White House is susceptible to such pranks. When questioned about an alleged hacking of President Obama's official Twitter account, White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra declined comment, saying only that cyber security is taken very seriously.

While both incidents left many public relations professionals biting their nails, they also raise a valid question: How can we best protect a brand in the ever evolving digital space? In the Wild West of the Web, it takes a bit of throw-it-against-the-wall-to-see-if-it-sticks mentality to get by. Currently, both the good guys and the bad are testing the water to see what works, and sandwiched in between are the social networking conglomerates like Twitter and Facebook, carefully navigating legalities. Or so we think. ...

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