The recent hack on Twitter which put 250,000 user accounts at risk couldn’t have come at a worse time, preceding one of the social network’s major co-marketing efforts. Twitter’s security people say it was “the work of professionals” which is not comforting to those who contemplated, post cyberattack, to link their Twitter accounts to their Amex cards as part of a new joint campaign to afford Twitter users special deals and discounts from Amex merchants. Professional cyberthieves have a focused intent when hacking—steal information that has value. Amateur hackers, on the other hand, often do it for sport or to garner some perverted merit badge that has value within rather strange circles.
Even with a nice buzz about the Twitter-Amex campaign, there was a chill in the air as Twitter users though twice about linking such secure information as credit card numbers with social media accounts. It will be important for digital marketers to stay on top of both sides of this event: consumer sentiment as well as measures taken by social media sites and their partners to prevent fraud. The major takeaway—perhaps one that should be part of a marketer’s bible (although, in some cases, it probably is) is that you are judged by the company you keep. In this case, Twitter’s part in this co-marketing deal may be saved by the digital security efforts made by Amex over the past few years.
As one financial analyst points out,” American Express has invested millions in its online processing capabilities and security over the last few years, and will be prepared for the challenges–security or otherwise–presented by the increased online transactions.” The same would likely be true for most high-profile banks and credit card firms. This is not to say that social media networks should count on their financial partners to rescue them every time a cyberthief attacks, but finding the right partner when it comes to working with any sort of sensitive data will lead to consumer trust which will be one ingredient toward successful digital commerce campaigns.