Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account


8:05 am - March 21st 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Less than 24 hours after the Mayor of London dismissed the “hysteria” around him hijacking the official @MayorofLondon Twitter account (first reported on this blog) – his team have quietly u-turned.

That’s right – last night his team quietly reverted back to @MayorofLondon from @BorisJohnson, along with all the Twitter followers.

It’s even more amusing as this happened after they released a lengthy defense of their original action, and then u-turned on that defense.

At first the Mayor’s team released this statement:

Boris has been completely transparent about changing the Twitter name and since it has changed we have seen a surge in followers despite followers being free to unfollow at any time.

I don’t think anyone is any doubt that the amount of followers have been built up on this account are directly because it is Boris Johnson’s. Does anyone really think that a man [referring to Ken] who has just 5,000 Facebook friends compared to Boris’s 125,900 would have built up a following on Twitter of 253,100? The simple fact is that all Twitter accounts are owned by Twitter and this one was set up at zero cost to the taxpayer.

But he would still be breaking the rules because it had been promoted and maintained using official GLA resources.

So they u-turned by the early evening, saying:

As [Boris] entered the campaign he was determined to ensure there was no confusion between him as Mayor and him as a candidate and therefore changed the name of his Twitter account.

He did not expect this openness and honesty to have created such hysteria.

So in case there is even one Londoner who has a problem with what he did, he will not use that account for the campaign and instead can be followed from the political front on @BackBoris2012.

He also sent out a tweet saying the same:

This was a mistake – because Boris was now caught promoting his re-election campaign on the official Twitter account.

The @BorisJohnson account also linked to his ‘Back Boris’ website – once again breaking the rules.

By the end of the day, they gave up. Too many rules had been broken and they had not thought through this brazen hijacking at all.

All the followers are now back at @MayorofLondon – without a link to his re-election site.

But there is more to this car-crash of an episode, for reasons that may soon become clear.

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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


Does twittering convince voters? I think not. In fact, I deem it to be highly irrelevant to the campaign.
Twitter followers of a certain account will already have made up their mind about whom to vote. Probably they are die-hard supporters of a candidate anyway.
Undecided voters on the other hand won’t follow the Twitter accounts of all possible candidates. They will maybe read a newspaper, if at all.

2. Chaise Guevara

Poor Boris! He only wanted to be transparent, and you cruel commenters with your “rules” and your needless bias against corrupt practices have thrown it back in his big honest face!

And as the press release points out, Boris has more Facebook friends than Ken! Did you consider this vital piece of info when you were deciding whether or not high-jacking a non-partisan address for personal gain is a bad thing? Did you??

For shame!

your needless bias against corrupt practices

Hyperbolic handbag clutching aside (yay, something I can slightly disagree with CG about!), this episode really just shows how slow regulatory procedure is at keeping up with technology. Arguably, all politicians tweets during elections should contain an imprint containing the name and address of the promoter, and the organisation that’s being promoted. That’d take up more than 140 characters by itself.

What this also is, I suppose, is a victory for online instant response. Boris infringes rules, people point this out, Boris has to row back – all done within the space of an hour or so. So well done Sunny. It’s not exactly of earth-shattering import, but a precedent has been set nonetheless.

Good to see the usual tory trolls defending corruption, as long as it is sleazy tories they don’t care.

But scrounging off the state while paying no taxes is the tory way. It’s only when poor people do it the tories complain. As usual 1 rule for tories and another for everyone else.

Does anyone remember when Ken was mayor and spent huge amounts of money on a self-promoting “newspaper”?

6. Chaise Guevara

@ 5 Tyler

“Does anyone remember when Ken was mayor and spent huge amounts of money on a self-promoting β€œnewspaper”?”

Yes. How is that thing relevant to this thing?

Harry Cole’s tory tweets deserve to be used as a campaign poster for Boris (don’t forget to include BorisBacker’s tweets)

Let’s see how many we get to see vote Boris with juvenile behavior.

@Tyler: YAAAAAWN

Shut the fuck up.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Kal Singh Dhindsa

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  2. Kal Singh Dhindsa

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  3. Nicolas Chinardet

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  4. Nicolas Chinardet

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  5. Greg Eden

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  6. Greg Eden

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  7. TeresaMary

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  8. TeresaMary

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  9. Chris Ward

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  10. Simon Morris

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  11. rabasure

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  12. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account http://t.co/j9oqsgrP

  13. Mehdi Hasan

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  14. sunny hundal

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  15. House of Ill-Repute

    The quote about Facebook proves what an arrogant arse he is RT @libcon: Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account http://t.co/KcCE8xyz

  16. Matthew H

    World saved. Good job, left. RT @libcon Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account http://t.co/rhEndkAq

  17. Zoe Margolis

    Let's #sackboris RT @sunny_hundal: What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/GOZFzwqQ

  18. Jude Elliott-Jones

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  19. Malcolm Trussler

    Let's #sackboris RT @sunny_hundal: What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/GOZFzwqQ

  20. Rifat Sheikh

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  21. Chris Castle

    @angelneptustar @Tayloff @Notaphdthesis @SOASLabour oh look @MayorofLondon is back. http://t.co/CoXf20yr #don'tliketogloat πŸ˜‰ #doreally πŸ˜‰

  22. Derek Bryant

    Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account http://t.co/BvEhuqPJ

  23. Boris Watch

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  24. nikki h

    Let's #sackboris RT @sunny_hundal: What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/GOZFzwqQ

  25. Iain Aitch

    So, @MayorofLondon reverts to that account. What an embarrassing cock up. http://t.co/nVWqhqeP

  26. Caroline Russell

    RT @sunny_hundal: The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/eue1rLwT

  27. Gods & Monsters

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  28. graham

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  29. Londoncanals

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  30. Flake

    @angelneptustar well you look a proper tit now eh? Loser. http://t.co/8tuZmYj6

  31. Miljenko Williams

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  32. Perry Bonewell

    Still gained 800 followers tho RT @iainaitch: So, @MayorofLondon reverts to that account. What an embarrassing cock up. http://t.co/S6OBkqUH

  33. fabsternation

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/W80QTx4j #sackboris

  34. Alex Braithwaite

    Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/e7hDkFpr via @libcon

  35. Chris Paul

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  36. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account http://t.co/WiREf4mb

  37. Tania Ziegler

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  38. John Turner

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  39. suzi smith

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  40. suzi smith

    @lbc973 What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/eJCMx8sV /via @sunny_hundal

  41. Gershon Portnoi

    Reverts back? RT @sunny_hundal: What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/Beba6JKH

  42. Claudine Letsae

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  43. Lilli Geissendorfer

    RT @sunny_hundal: The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/eue1rLwT

  44. duona

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  45. duona

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  46. Jem Stone

    @davelee this is now out of date. Mayor has now reverted to original naming of a/c following the complaints. http://t.co/vsnLodUn

  47. Jem Stone

    @GordonMacMillan Looks like overnight though Mayor team have reverted back to original position following complaints http://t.co/vsnLodUn

  48. Alan199

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  49. Christian Campbell

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  50. R

    Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Wa5wQvTO via @libcon

  51. Tom King

    Boris' twitter car-crash on the first day of the official campaign http://t.co/1O9tKxvW #sackboris #borisisntworking

  52. SOAS Labour

    @angelneptustar @Tayloff @Notaphdthesis @SOASLabour oh look @MayorofLondon is back. http://t.co/CoXf20yr #don'tliketogloat πŸ˜‰ #doreally πŸ˜‰

  53. Anya Reevell

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  54. Elaine

    Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account http://t.co/BvEhuqPJ

  55. Stephen Stanners

    Boris' twitter car-crash on the first day of the official campaign http://t.co/1O9tKxvW #sackboris #borisisntworking

  56. mayoroflondon

    What these idiot lefties don't understand is that rules, like taxes, are for little people http://t.co/l6RV5vld

  57. Vincent Weight

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  58. Mark Willis

    The Boris Twitter account hijacking episode isn't over yet; he broke several rules in the process too http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  59. MEHDI Ali

    What a mess! Boris quietly reverts back to old Twitter account after several u-turns http://t.co/ukf4jtyW

  60. Paul Evans

    Car-crash! Boris reverts to old Twitter account | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/cA9uE6RH





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