Barack Obama’s profile on Pinterest hijacked again

After a bit of confusion this week, I finally understood what had happened to Barack Obama’s profile page on Pinterest. It seemed as if the account had pinned several “non-presidential” images to a board, but in reality a user had taken advantage of a security flaw in Pinterest. When you invite another user to collaborate on a board, that board becomes visible on that user’s profile too. So an inactive account like Obama’s could be “hijacked” to include any board without the account owner even noticing it.

After that first incident, the person who managed the board that appeared on Obama’s page, removed it. But now it has happened again. Another board is visible on and once again it does not belong to that account.


Having the President look like a fool on your site, can’t be good for business. Pinterest should change the procedure so that a user that has been invited to collaborate on a board actively has to agree that the board becomes visible on its profile.

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: This board has some 440 pins, including some images that are NSFW.

Pin It

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!

Whitney Houston is dead – Twitter user beats media with the scoop

So I wake up to hear the tragic news that the fantastic singer Whitney Houston is dead. As often happens these days, I found out via social media, this time via comments on Facebook. When the story broke, the news spread on Twitter at the speed of over 1,000 tweets per second. The first hour there were almost 2.5 million tweets about her death, according to

And once again we find an example of how Twitter beat traditional media with the scoop. Twitter user @chilemasgrande tweeted this 27 minutes before the first news outlet tweeted.


Here is the first confirmed tweet from AP about the death of Whitney Houston, a tweet that has been retweeted more than 11,000 times.


But Twitter and Facebook are not the only social media channels that become outlets for grieving fans. On Instagram, there are thousands of images posted with the tag #whitneyhouston and hundreds more are being added as I post this.


And on Pinterest, photos of Houston are being commented, pinned and repinned. This photo has currently been repinned 900 times and has more than 100 comments.

Source: via Marenda on Pinterest


Social media is becoming the place where we both discover news and share our thoughts. This story is just one more example of that.

Facebook is driving more traffic to Pinterest than to Instagram

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the new social media darling Pinterest. The online pinboard is growing quickly and according to a new report from Compete, Pinterest is also driving a lot of traffic to other social networks. People are sharing images and videos on Pinterest which in turn drive traffic to sites like Facebook. According to the State of Social Media report from Compete, Pinterest delivered 1.7 million visits to Facebook in November 2011, an increase by 62%. As a comparison, that is almost double the amount of referrals from an established site like

In this social ecosystem, social networks in turn drive traffic back to Pinterest. It is quite interesting to see that Facebook is already driving more traffic to Pinterest than to Instagram (0.16% share vs 0.06%). And this was before it was announced in January that Pinterest was among the sites that could start auto-update to the Facebook timeline, which possibly means that more images are now shared on Facebook than in November.


Twitter on the other hand is still driving more referrals to Instagram than to Pinterest.


The difference between how Facebook and Twitter drive referrals to Pinterest and Instagram is interesting. I don’t have an explanation to why this is, but one theory could be that the demographics of Pinterest users better match Facebook users while Instagram users are more like Twitter users. Says TechCrunch:

“Unlike most web startups, Pinterest’s core user base is not the typical early adopter set from the west and east coasts of the United States. While the Pacific and North East regions contained the most Pinterest users in May, now its strongholds are in the East South Central and West North Central States, such as Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, and Mississippi.”

According to TechCrunch, a large portion of Pinterest users in the US are 18-34 year old upper income women from the American heartland which may explain why some of the more popular categories on Pinterest are food, pets, hair & beauty and travel.

Another explanation can of course be that Instagram mainly is an app and that its web presence is not very good. When you click on an Instagram photo there’s hardly no way to get that user to keep on browsing on the site. You can’t even click on my name and explore more of my photos, so visits to is not at all encouraged. On Twitter, Instagram photos are viewable within the site and in for example TweetDeck (but I don’t know if that counts as a “visit”).

Also, a tiny but important detail. When you tweet a photo from Pinterest, it doesn’t include the caption in the tweet, which might reduce the willingness to push the send button. Fix that, and I am sure more people will share pinned images on Twitter.

Note: Swedish readers may want to read this story about how Pinterest is driving millions of visits to a blogger.