Boris hijacks official Mayor Twitter account


by Sunny Hundal    
1:41 pm - March 20th 2012

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Boris Johnson has hijacked the official, non-partisan @mayoroflondon Twitter account and renamed it @borisjohnson – it was revealed today.

The Mayor has also changed the weblink changed from www.london.gov.uk to www.backboris2012.com – without notifying anyone.

By hijacking the account, Boris instantly gains 253,125 followers.

The official @mayoroflondon account has been embedded on the www.london.gov.uk website, and maintained from City Hall as part of the communications of the Greater London Authority.

It has been a tool of the GLA through the Mayor to communicate official Mayoral duties and messages. Staff time and GLA resources have been used to these ends.

Basically – taxpayers money has been spent to build up and maintain a feed that Boris has now hijacked.

To compare like with like, the No. 10 twitter feed was set up under Gordon brown but has stayed as an official feed since Cameron took over.

Boris Johnson had earlier received a warning for using the MayorofLondon account for party purposes.

Now he’s decided to just hijack the whole account.

Unbelievable. An official complaint is now being made by London Labour.

Update: Len Duvall AM from London Labour has sent this email to GLA’s Ed Williams:

Dear Ed,

I am concerned that officers of the GLA have migrated the Mayor of London’s Twitter account to the BackBoris2012 campaign site.

My understanding is that this twitter account was established by the Authority and belongs to the Office of the Mayor of London, and has been maintained since its inception by GLA resources. As such, this account does not belong to the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Can you quickly establish the facts and intervene on this abuse and misuse of resources in undertaking this transfer.

If it is found this is a personal account, it has featured on a number of GLA and mayoral publications and I would expect the organisation to be reimbursed the full sum that have been spent on this personal and political campaigning.

Can you outline in writing what steps you intend to take to rectify this as a matter of urgency

I am copying this to Jeff Jacobs and the District Auditor.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Len Duvall AM

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


As I tweeted earlier, this is equivalent to a slate of incumbent councillors taking over their council’s official news e-mail list and sending out “vote for us!” propaganda to all its subscribers, as soon as Purdah begins. It’s really not acceptable and I hope it’s ruled out of order swiftly.

“Outrage”. If you say so.

It also means his account gains a Twitter Verified ‘tick’ automatically.

Maybe we should all block the account and report it for spam?

Also broken link in the 3rd-last paragraph:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/03/20/outrage-as-boris-hijacks-official-mayor-twitter-account/Johnson%20receives%20formal%20warning%20after%20using%20Twitter%20for%20party%20purposes

boris also twee me a picture of his ass I do not waant to see that

Just how much public money was spent on creating a twitter account?

Tories will steal anything that’s not nailed down. See NHS that was.

@George

Depends on how many people they were paying to maintain it, cost of marketing, etc.

Basically, the short answer is – it wasn’t free.

The money, while not to be ignored, is not the key problem here, in my view. This situation is exactly analogous to the hypothetical one in my earlier comment (no. 1) so, assuming everyone agrees that would be unacceptable, so should this be.

I have just been to http://www.london.gov.uk and I can’t see anything different… Am I missing something? No embedded Boris Twitter feed either.

Apologies, I thought the article was saying the website had also been hijacked. I can see now it means the weblink from the twitter account.

Apologies for comment above, I mis-read the article thinking it meant the website had also been hijacked, but I can see now it meant the weblink from the Twitter account.

So Boris sets up an account, switches it to MayorOfLondon, uses Taxpayers money to maintain it (separate from his own expenses, I would expect) and then claims it back as his own when it’s most convenient to him?

Just been reading the exchange on Twitter. How can Harry Cole justify his outrage over expenses abuse (I bet I can find an article on Guido’s site in 5 minutes regarding a Labour MP abusing a 4 figure sum), and then not care that an elected official is using tax money to fund what is now his own personal account? How much has been paid in staff costs to pay this?

The mind boggles.

After today, the nasty party knows it can get away with anything.

Not at the same level, but I did wonder a while ago if http://www.chestermp.com/ and @mp4chester were entirely legitimate ways of identifying a Conservative MP. What happens the day that Chester no longer has a Tory MP? Do they simply hand over the domain and Twitter feed?

Doesn’t seem right, anyhow.

Could prove to be a bit of an own goal if tens of thousands suddenly unfollowed the account… Perhaps the ‘power of Twitter’ could be harnessed to bring about just such an eventuality? #UnfollowBoris ;)

Karl I think you’re right. If people do unfollow Boris then we’ll know they share Sunny’s anger over this and I’ll be watching the numbers with great interest.

Would be interesting to know if this is a GLA or a personal account – if the former, this is bad and should be undone immediately, if the latter, then certain people are going to look rather stupid.

If I were offering odds, I’d go for the latter…

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 Watchman

Well, the letter in the OP claims that if it is a personal account, it’s been misfunded. Don’t know if that’s true, but if it is then it sounds like they’ve got him coming and going.

Chaise,

Considering that Twitter is free, I presume the funding will be for putting things on the account – so the question there would be was in political or GLA officials doing that (or Mr Johnson, a prolific writer, himself).

Incidentally, if this is a personal account, it is only proper that he changes it from Mayor of London to his personal name during an election. Be interesting to hear what response Mr Duvall gets, but I suspect that this is another one, like the ‘Facebook racism against soldiers’ thing last week that will disappear without follow up as facts fail to materialise to substantiate the story – I could be wrong though.

@3. Chris McCray

Perhaps the hashtag we’re looking for is #BlockBoris

How do you provide “funding” for a Twitter account? Not bothering to really use Twitter myself, I don’t get this storm in a teacup. What you invest in Twitter is not money, but your time and effort. Hey, when a politician tweets, what do you expect it to contain but politics and campaigning? The bad thing surely is, if any, that a mayor wastes time tweeting?


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  9. Seema Chandwani

    Our top story today: Mayor Boris Johnson hijacks official Mayor Twitter account (we broke it) http://t.co/Suk1FJlK

  10. Lioness

    Twitter account ownership fought over in campaign for Mayor. Twitter has won the interwebz!! http://t.co/uPUTNM8v

  11. Eamon Walsh

    Our top story today: Mayor Boris Johnson hijacks official Mayor Twitter account (we broke it) http://t.co/Suk1FJlK

  12. Gohsuke Takama

    Boris Johnson hijacks official @MayorofLondon Twitter account as @BorisJohnson for his own campaign http://t.co/qwCUO1lp

  13. Steve

    Our top story today: Mayor Boris Johnson hijacks official Mayor Twitter account (we broke it) http://t.co/Suk1FJlK

  14. Terese

    Boris hijacks official Mayor Twitter account http://t.co/BCmv1Ani incidentally i got my poll card today. can't wait to not vote for boris!

  15. Giselle Green

    Our top story today: Mayor Boris Johnson hijacks official Mayor Twitter account (we broke it) http://t.co/Suk1FJlK

  16. Rikki Prince

    Boris Johnson hijacks official @MayorofLondon Twitter account as @BorisJohnson for his own campaign http://t.co/qwCUO1lp

  17. Warren Peace

    Our top story today: Mayor Boris Johnson hijacks official Mayor Twitter account (we broke it) http://t.co/Suk1FJlK

  18. Sam Kington

    Ken sailed close to the wind using state money for campaigning, but this is just breathtaking http://t.co/9gy7PlE2

  19. Politics live blog: MPs debate health bill and Queen addresses Parliament | Politics News and Discussion

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  20. Politics live blog: MPs debate health bill and Queen addresses Parliament | Birmingham Link

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  21. Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account | Liberal Conspiracy

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  22. Paul Evans

    Boris hijacks official Mayor Twitter account | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/So1L6Pss

  23. Ibriz Interactive

    Boris hijacks official Mayor Twitter account | Liberal Conspiracy: Basically – taxpayers money has been spent to… http://t.co/LVOZdccD

  24. Elaine

    Outrage as Boris hijacks official Mayor Twitter account http://t.co/vhAE0vLr

  25. Elaine

    Mayor Twitter account hijack update: London Labour have complained and send an email asking uncomfortable questions http://t.co/geZbLeU0

  26. Joachim

    boris johnson WTF http://t.co/00G9c7qm

  27. Zoroaster

    Boris hijacks official Mayor Twitter account http://t.co/zfYQ71sC (via @summify)

  28. aptronym

    RT @jonworth: Extraordinary hijacking of 200k Twitter followers by Boris Johnson http://t.co/QJmQXP2J

  29. Stefan Laity

    Boris hijacks official Mayor Twitter account – has since been returned | Liberal Conspiracy – http://t.co/2EsWCTOl

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  31. BizBuz

    http://t.co/vdXr9Gp5 #NHS Vote Ken Livingstone for London Mayor
    http://t.co/wluWifVB
    @ken4london





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