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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Burger King was the victim of hackers, having to shut down its Twitter account. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

Burger King hack exposes media vulnerability


Yesterday, fast-food chain Burger King lost its Twitter account. The feed was shut down following a hack, during which the restaurant's larger competitor's images and golden arches were posted on the page.

Now it is doubtful that McDonald's went through the trouble to target a rival's Twitter account, but the hacking incident does highlight how fragile digital reputation is and how important social media engagement is for multinational firms.

When we think of the term media, we remember days-gone-past where the morning, and later, the afternoon newspapers were delivered to your front porch. We remember the crackle and pops of early AM dial broadcasts, and the first streaming images on a handful of stations sending video to TV sets.

These days, media is everything from ads rolling through a mobile app to audio files you hear in between Spotify songs streaming on your computer. We've gone a long way from the first Ronald McDonald outfit worn by "Today" weatherman Willard Scott to Burger King having to pull down one of its social media outlets.

Besides images of the new fish McBites, hackers used obscenities and racial slurs in the posts that were made over the course of an hour. Other messages included:

"If I catch you at a Wendys, we're fightin!"

And

"We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you."

Burger King officials said on Monday that the company will post an apology on its Facebook account.

McDonald's was proactive in its response to what happened, posting, "We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking."

This latest attack comes a merely a week after pranksters broke into a television station's emergency broadcast system and sent out messages warning of the zombie apocalypse. The incident on KRTC-TV in Montana also happened to stations in three other states – Michigan, New Mexico and California.

According to the Michigan Broadcasters Association, the worry isn't in the zombie message that was broadcast, it was the fact that hackers were able to get into the system. The FCC's response was to tell station IT staffers to make sure to change the default passwords.

VIDEO GAMES: Angry Birds is far from the first game that made money licensing its image and characters for merchandising. Back in the day, my brother and I had Pac-Man sleeping bags.

However, the maker of Angry Birds is entering new territory by creating its own advertising network. Instead of using a third-party to deliver ads inside its game portals and collecting revenue, Rovio is creating its own integrated ad unit. By cutting out the middle man, the video game maker has the opportunity to manage its own revenue stream and offer advertisers unique access to the millions of players around the globe.

REVOLVING DOOR: We already knew that L.A. Reid and Britney Spears were not going to be returning for the next season of Simon Cowell's "X-Factor." However, the latest news coming out of Hollywood is that co-host Khloe Kardashian wasn't asked to come back, leaving Mario Lopez as the sole returning host on the talent competition show.

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