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Twitter creates fake tweets from real users to promote new product

Twitter creates fake tweets from real users to promote new product

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In a miscalculated marketing decision, Twitter apparently decided to use its users to promote its new TV ad targeting platform — picturing them tweeting things they didn’t tweet. SF Gate reports that in a post on Twitter’s advertising blog, the company posted a screenshot of users Subhash Chander, William Mazeo, and Neil Gottlieb singing the praises of an imaginary ad for something called Barista Bar. The bogus tweets (e.g., "I wish I could make fancy lattes like in the @baristabar commercial") have since been removed, replaced with tweets from TwitterAds employees, but SF Gate reports that the original post had already been tweeted by the official @twitterads account, retweeted to some 1.5 million users’ timelines.

TwitterAds acknowledged the mistake in a message to those affected (above), apologizing for "the confusion earlier today." But while the company has apparently rectified the problem, the incident raises questions about Twitter’s rights to its users’ likenesses. We’ve reached out to the company for comment and will update you if and when we hear back.

Update: A Twitter rep replied to The Verge, explaining that that the company frequently uses mock-ups for blog posts and that "we don't have future plans to use actual users in such imagery on the ads blog."