New York Comic Con sparked some controversy late last week when convention guests discovered that their Twitter accounts had apparently been hijacked by event organizers.
Mashable reported that starting Thursday, attendees were seeing NYCC-specific tweets being posted to their handles, and not by their own thumb. Convention officials later said that people with hijacked accounts had actually opted-in, but said that maybe they could have been a little more transparent about what attendees were signing up for.
Basically, this year the convention exclusively used RFID badges in order to make entrance and access “smoother,” and to help keep con-crashers with fake ID’s out. During registration, users could connect their social media accounts to their badges, but they didn’t seem to know what they were signing up for.
Connecting your badge to your accounts apparently gave NYCC the right to tweet from your account, like so:
— Greg Miller (@GameOverGreggy) October 11, 2013
The fakes are easy to spot. They all include that bit.ly link (which goes to New York Comic Con’s Facebook page) and all use the tag #NYCC, in addition to a generic message.
— Brian Crecente (@crecenteb) October 11, 2013
Naturally, this confused, shocked, disturbed, and annoyed tons of attendees as the convention came to a close. Amazingly, NYCC responded to concerns on their own Twitter account with one of the more disturbingly Orwellian things we’ve seen in a while:
FYI – do not fret if #NYCC-ID tweeted as you yesterday! We shut this opt-in feature off so it won’t happen anymore. Have a blast at NYCC!
— New York Comic Con (@NY_Comic_Con) October 11, 2013
NYCC later gave a statement/apology for the perceived violation:
“As you may have seen yesterday, there were some posts to Twitter and Facebook issued by New York Comic Con on behalf of attendees after RFID badges were registered. This was an opt-in function after signing in, but we were probably too enthusiastic in our messaging and eagerness to spread the good word about NYCC. We have since shut down this service completely and apologize for any perceived overstep. Please accept our apologies and have an absolutely excellent time this weekend. -Your friends at NYCC”
Creepy? Yes. Wave of the future? More than likely. Just because Comic Con copped to (and stopped) hijacking Twitter accounts doesn’t mean that this idea will fall by the wayside. We won’t get too conspiratorial here, but we will remind you to make sure you always read the fine print. My guess is, this type of thing is about to start happening a lot.