Catastrophe is a strong word," Twitter user @BPGlobalPR said in a May 23 post. "Let's all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy."
The tweet, of course, referred to British Petroleum's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Since May 19 a veritable endless supply of similarly sardonic tweets has been streaming from the fake Twitter account holder, whose parody of a lackadaisical BP PR rep has garnered a cult Internet following. In the 100-plus days since BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, the as-yet-to-be-revealed tweeter has created almost as much buzz as ex-CEO Tony Hayward's loose lips. @BPGlobalPR has more than 180,000 followers - almost 10 times the number for BP's real Twitter PR account, @BP_America. BP did not respond to a request for comment.
@BPGlobalPR is by far the most visible fake Twitter account, but by no means is it alone. There's a plethora of online social commentators masked as tongue-in-cheek versions of powerful CEOs and public figures on Twitter. @FakeSarahPalin's grammar is almost as atrocious as her spelling skills: "Does anybody know the definitionism of the word 'obtuse?' I AM NOT FAT IF THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS." And fake Microsoft chief @StevenABallmer seems to hate everything from the "definitely EVIL" iPad to Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg. Neither Palin nor Ballmer seem to be paying much attention, however. Palin's political action committee didn't return calls seeking comment, and Ballmer reportedly doesn't even have a Twitter account of his own.
BP, however, did try to stifle the fake Twitterer's momentum. In June the oil giant asked Twitter to remind the satirist about Twitter's policy, which requires users to include a statement on their bio page that distinguishes them from the person or entity they're parodying.
@BPGlobalPR's response was in step with its usual tenor: "We are not associated with Beyond Petroleum, the company that has been destroying the Gulf of Mexico for 52 days," the bio stated at the time it was posted.
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