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Barack Obama brandjacked on Pinterest – updated

[Updated - see end of the post] Yesterday Mashable noted that Barack Obama had joined yet another social network, namely the much hyped Pinterest. At that point, the account had no boards. I must admit that I thought that it was an official account for the Obama/Biden campaign. I couldn’t for the life of me think that the campaign people and/or Pinterest would allow someone to snatch the username “barackobama” from the US President. But it seems both Mashable and I were wrong.

The Pinterest account has now posted one board, but it does not at all look like the kind of content you thought would be pinned by Obama. In fact, when you hold the cursor over the board you will notice that the link points to a board by another user: http://pinterest.com/mikestreet/bropin/ This board has some 440 pins, including some images that are NSFW.

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Barack Obama Pinterest

I don’t know how this is done technically. When I look at my own Pinterest profile I only see boards that are my own. But “mikestreet” has the very same board with the same images on his profile, so clearly this must be a fake Obama account. What do you think? Could there be another explanation?

Update: I emailed with Lauren Orsini who gave a reasonable explanation to what happened. The account is probably not fake at all, but the board seen above in my screen shot was put there as a joke by Mike Street. You see, there is a way to add other Pinterest users as collaborators to your boards and when you do, that board will appear on their profile too. This can be used with great effect if you are doing it to an inactive account, like a celebrity for example, they will not notice they have been added. So the Obama account was not paying attention that Mike added it as collaborator, making us believe that Obama had created a board named #BroPin. Lauren has written about that security flaw here – How to hijack popular brands on Pinterest for free publicity.

Although I don’t recommend that you do this on Pinterest, I must admit I was fooled. Well played!

Posted in Crisis, PR.

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