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Oops: Twitter caught faking users' tweets to promo new ad product

Remember when Facebook used unsuspecting users’ images in ads for 55-gallon barrels of Passion Natural Water personal lubricant, and had to pay users to settle a class-action lawsuit?Yesterday Twitter launched a TV ad targeting product to a wider audience. Unfortunately, the graphic it used to promote the new ad platform included perky fawning tweets from Twitter users about a coffee commercial, including “This @baristabar ad is giving me the coffee shakes. Looks so good!” and “I wish I could make fancy lattes like in the @barristabar commercial,” and “What is the song in the new @baristabar commercial? I love it!”As the sharp-eyed Jeff Elder at SFGate noticed, the tweets were from real users, but did not appear on their timelines. And the Twitter users — whose names and likenesses were used to promote topics they didn’t know or care about — were now on record via Twitter’s blog as going ga-ga over San Francisco’s fictitious Barista Bar.Interestingly, I followed the Barista Bar trail, which leads to a half-built “let’s talk #Twitter” WordPress blog with a “Twitter Addict” header, default WordPress blank install copy, broken Google Adsense ad blocks, paid SEO links in the footer, and a claim to not be “affiliated with Twitter® or the excellent Barista Bar in San Fransisco [sic].” In addition, there are a couple of references to Twitter Ads and an unmistakeable Twitter style, but the site was supposedly designed by “Moon Bingo,” an online gambling site based in Belize.

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24 Jul
Richard Minerich @rickasaurus
Twitter may be faking your likeness to promote products http://t.co/MdQp6Zb58T This should be class action asap
24 Jul
Hacker News 20 @newsyc20
Twitter caught faking users tweets http://t.co/1qGwoMDrV3 (http://t.co/9bY6XrnQsP)