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How New York Comic-Con Hijacked My Twitter Account

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 6 comments

NEW YORK — If you're at New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2013 and you have a Twitter account, you may have tweeted about your excitement about being at one of the biggest pop-culture conventions in the world. Or Comic Con may have tweeted on your behalf.

Many people, including this reporter, activated their Comic Con badges using a social media account and were surprised yesterday (Oct. 10) to find posts to their Twitter feeds that they themselves hadn't written. Examples included "Best four days of my life!" or "Getting my daily dose of #NYCC!" with an attached link to NYCC's Facebook page. 

MORE: 10 Worst Tech PR Stunts of All Time 

Other users found unauthorized posts to their Facebook pages from Comic Con.

The messages started when NYCC officially opened to the press Thursday afternoon, as attendees arrived at the Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan and activated their badges.

Predictably, some users were furious to realize that their social-media identities had been co-opted. NYCC officials shut down the feature early Friday morning in response to the backlash. 

"We were probably too enthusiastic in our messaging and eagerness to spread the good word about NYCC," convention officials told Tom's Guide in an email. "We have since shut down this service completely and apologize for any perceived overstep."

Representatives on the convention floor refused to elaborate further, other than suggesting that the Twitter and Facebook hijacks were enabled by the RFID chips in Comic Con attendees' badges. The RFID chips, or radio-frequency identification chips, are a new badge feature this year. 

The low-power chips transmit a weak radio signal that RFID readers can pick up in close proximity. NYCC security, for example, scans each badge as attendees enter and exit the Javits Center.

Activating the NYCC badge wasn't required of attendees, nor was using a social media account to facilitate the activation. But activation brought bonuses for attendees, such as free comics or special updates from the show. 

However, the process never clearly specified that using a social media account to activate the badge would allow NYCC to tweet or post its own messages to the account.

Users can disable this feature on their Twitter and Facebook accounts by going into Settings and selecting Applications. "New York Comic Con" should be listed there.

On Twitter, there'll be a button next to the name that says "Revoke Access." On Facebook, click the application for the opportunity to report or remove the application. 

 Email or follow her @JillScharr and Google+.  Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 7 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 11, 2013 12:09 PM
    This brings a whole new meaning to comic-con :) 
  • 0 Hide
    kinggraves , October 11, 2013 2:08 PM
    A combination of Facebook's lousy security and another industry being taken over by advertising interests. How clueless do you have to be to think people are not going to be bothered by hijacking their social media? That doing so to REPORTERS is not going to get you good press? Take caution whenever anything has an RFID in it, you never know what's really on that chip.
  • -2 Hide
    jennywelfare1 , October 11, 2013 2:31 PM
    My Uncle Colin just got Alfa Romeo just by some part-time working online with a laptop... Source.......... WWW.JOBS61.COM
  • Display all 6 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    smeghead4269 , October 11, 2013 4:07 PM
    After all the crap we've been hearing about the NSA spying on anything and everything, what fool thought hijacking people's accounts would be a good idea? How could they possibly have thought this would get a positive reaction?

    I would say the people running NYCC are a bunch of braindead chimpanzees, but that would be an insult to the greater braindead chimpanzee community.
  • 0 Hide
    LaughALot , October 11, 2013 4:39 PM
    Wonder how long we'll have to wait to find out that the home or apartment of one of the attendees was broken into because the conference let the world know that their residents was empty.
  • 1 Hide
    TheWhiteMage , October 12, 2013 12:57 AM
    Ah, companies are just silly lately with how much control they want.
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