Twitter’s Own Crisis Management

What crisis communications “must-do” did Twitter miss?

If you have a Twitter account (and who doesn’t at this point?) you may have witnessed a bit of crisis management first-hand earlier this month. When a widespread security issue within the service put a large number of accounts at risk of being compromised, the Big T wisely decided that communication was the best crisis management and fired off the following email to anyone who could potentially have been affected:

Hi, [name]

Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter. We’ve reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account.

You’ll need to create a new password for your Twitter account. You can select a new password at this link:…

As always, you can also request a new password from our password-resend page:

Please don’t reuse your old password and be sure to choose a strong password (such as one with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols).

In general, be sure to:

Always check that your browser’s address bar is on a website before entering your password. Phishing sites often look just like Twitter, so check the URL before entering your login information!
Avoid using websites or services that promise to get you lots of followers. These sites have been known to send spam updates and damage user accounts.
Review your approved connections on your Applications page at If you see any applications that you don’t recognize, click the Revoke Access button.

For more information, visit our help page for hacked or compromised accounts.

The Twitter Team

Not a bad effort, but the Twitter Team missed one of what BCM president Jonathan Bernstein calls “The Five Tenets of Crisis Communications” – general principles that have been proven to be necessary mainstays of crisis response.

So what was Twitter’s response missing? Compassion. At no time did Twitter acknowledge that its users might be concerned, scared or angry about the situation which, as in any crisis, quite a few were. Today’s public feels a deep personal connection between themselves and their favorite products or services, which makes it crucial for organizations to display a high degree of empathy for anyone impacted by their crises.

As we said before, not a bad effort, but to stay ahead organizations must learn and evolve from every incident. Next time Twitter has a crisis management issue, it’d do well to inject a little more of the human touch.

The BCM Blogging Team

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