BP targets Twitter to clean up oil spill

More PR brilliance

BP has complained to Twitter about one of the very many parody feeds mocking its efforts to clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

As a result BPGlobalPR has changed its bio to read: "We are not associated with Beyond Petroleum, the company that has been destroying the Gulf of Mexico for 51 days."

The feed has just short of 150,000 followers compared to just 13,000 for the official BP Twitter feed - BPAmerica. The company is doing better on Facebook where its page is "liked" by 20,000 people.

The Twitterer said yesterday: "Not sure what we've done wrong, but we've been asked to change our name/profile to indicate that we're 'fake'."

BP said it was not interested in getting the feed closed, but wanted to make sure it followed Twitter's policies.

Much of the rest of Twitter has already moved on - #BPrebrand is this hour's hot topic. Suggestions so far include: Big Profits Botched PR, Beyond Pollution, Busted Pipeline and Bankruptcy Please!

BP's share price continues to get hammered - it's down another 16 per cent today and is now worth less than half what it was in April. A separate row is developing over whether the oil giant should, or should not, pay out a share dividend - which accounts for over ten per cent of total payouts to UK pension funds and would also cut the income of some retired people in the US.

BP got slated earlier this week for buying contentious Google AdWords like "oil spill" and even "Gulf of Mexico". Top sponsored result for both is the section of BP's website devoted to its clean-up response - which is viewed by some as stifling debate and by others as a waste of money which could otherwise be used to clean beaches and birds.

Meanwhile the rhetoric gets ever more extreme. While President Obama says he is looking for a butt to kick, Norman Tebbit lurched into the sunlight to describe his behaviour as despicable and accused him of "a crude [sic], bigoted, xenophobic display of partisan political presidential petulance against a multinational company". With friends like these, and Boris Johnson, who needs enemies? ®

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