Chipotle's Twitter Account Was Hacked… By Chipotle

In a marketing stunt, Chipotle tweeted a series of disjointed messages.

ByABC News
July 25, 2013, 11:51 AM
Chipotle faked a Twitter hack.
Chipotle faked a Twitter hack.

July 25, 2013 — -- Chipotle is stirring up a bit more than guacamole this week after the Mexican restaurant's Twitter account became flooded with some odd messages, messages which appeared to be a result of a Twitter hack.

"Do I have a tweet?" "End Twitter" "Mittens13 password here" "Twitter" Twitter" "Find avocado store in Arvada, Colorado," @ChipolteTweets fired off to its plus 200,000 followers on Sunday.

But this wasn't a result of a hacker hijacking the account like what Burger King or Jeep experienced earlier this year. Instead, Chipotle has admitted to ABC News that this was a marketing stunt. The stunt was first reported by Mashable.

Twitter Beefs Up Security With Two-Factor Verification

Chris Arnold, director of communications at Chipotle, told ABC News that the planned tweets were part of a broader 20th anniversary promotion. The company has been holding a scavenger hunt and issuing new puzzles and clues daily. "The guacamole tweet was the answer to the day's puzzle. The idea was to incorporate it into our broader social media promotion," Arnold said. "We did it to get more people talking about that short string of posts."

Arnold said the company knew that some would think it was a result of a hack, but also that some would figure out that it was no more than a prank.

"There were some that were on to us and who thought this was some sort of a stunt or orchestrated thing," Arnold said.

The fact that the account wasn't immediately pulled down or the tweets weren't deleted, as they were with Burger King or Jeep accounts, were good indicators that the account wasn't compromised.

After some larger and more visible hacks, Twitter responded with new security measures, including two-factor verification, which was rolled out in May.

Chipotle says it was sensitive to the other hacks, and while it did piggy-pack on the trend, Arnold said it was carefully planned.

"We wrote the tweets in a way that was careful and not mean-spirited," he said. "We wrote them in a way that was non-sensical, that allowed us to have some fun."

Ultimately, Chipotle got what it wanted: more people to pay attention to its account and to be aware of the promotion. The company added a number of followers and saw up to 1,500 retweets on some of the messages, including one which sums up the entire thing: "Twitter."