Some registered press, professionals and fans attending New York Comic Con this year seemed unusually enthusiastic about the show on Twitter. That's because the New York City-based convention was tweeting positive messages on their behalf.
Within hours of the show opening its doors, members of the press, professionals and attendees discovered that their Twitter accounts were automatically sending out messages praising the show. Among those whose accounts tweeted without their knowledge were my own, IGN's Greg Miller, Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles, Attract Mode's Matt Hawkins and, according to Twitter, hundreds of others.
The pre-written tweets — more than 500 of them — were sent out on accounts shortly after the doors opened. They included the phrases "So much pop culture to digest! Can't. handle. the. awesome. #NYCC," "I can't get enough #NYCC!" and "So much to see, so much to do! #NYCC 2013 I love you!"
The tweets always included the NYCC hashtag and a link to the show's Facebook page.
Convention attendees apparently authorized access to their Twitter account when activating their RFID-enabled convention badges but likely didn't realize they were approving ghostwritten ads to be sent in their name. Some users, including Miller and Hawkins, expressed surprise and dismay that the convention was tweeting on their behalf.
Users who unintentionally granted New York Comic Con access to their tweets, can remove the access by logging onto Twitter from a computer, going into settings and then into apps and revoking authorization on the NYCC app.
Polygon has reached out to New York Comic Con and Twitter officials seeking comment on the practice.
Update: "What is a little unusual in this case is the automated and unapproved sending of Tweets," Michael McKinnon, a security advisor at AVG told Polygon. "In this case the organisers are taking it upon themselves to send the Tweets when they feel like it; something that users are naturally disagreeable with."
Update 2: Organizers for the event have discontinued the "opt-in feature," according to the official NYCC Twitter account. In a statement to Polygon, a representative for the event apologized for organizer's "eagerness" in spreading the ghostwritten tweets.
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