Social Engineering Prank: CNN on Twitter

A while back, I followed CNN’s Rick Sanchez on Twitter.  This was before Twitter had really begun to even slightly infiltrate the fringe of mass media, and I thought it was pretty cool that someone in the mainstream was at least curious as to what’s trendy on the web right now.  However, things have quickly gotten out of hand on CNN and Sanchez is using the platform in a means that is basically using Twitter as a sounding board akin to how Total Request Live on MTV used user submitted text back in the early 2000’s.  

During the afternoon block of news, Sanchez and his producers show tweets sent to him both on the ticker at the bottom of the screen, as well as an occasional juxtaposed screen that is sometimes shown alongside news clips.  The lack of quality of what is shown is pretty mind numbing, and it’s a little frightening to think that CNN is being irresponsible enough to allow this to happen.  Especially in light of the “Steve Is Dead” fiasco on their iReporter site.

So for anyone willing enough to play along and have some fun, I’d like to pull a social engineering prank on CNN.  I seriously doubt that any harm will come of it, and in the end it might convince CNN to be just a little more responsible about what they display.  So if you’d like to have a little fun with their naivety, just follow these three easy steps:


  1.  Follow ricksanchezcnn.  Even if you aren’t on twitter (or don’t like it), go ahead and sign up just for this.  It’ll take just a few minutes, I promise it’s painless.
  2. Around 2:00 pm Eastern time, Sanchez takes the afternoon anchor desk on CNN and begins asking for feedback on different topics on Twitter during commercial breaks.
  3. One he does this, begin flooding his account with completely nonsensical replies.  Whatever is your fancy, be it vague quotes or LOLspeak, just hit him up with ridiculous stuff.  Perhaps you’d like to enter the whole lyrics to “Never Gonna Give You Up”.  My only suggestion and guideline is to keep it clean so that CNN has no real ammunition in return.


That’s it!  Should be fun, right?.  I’m proposing that this should happen as a carpet bomb on Friday, October 15 beginning at 2:30 pm Eastern, and last for at least a half hour.  I’m hoping that this is enough time for this to gain some speed, but not enough for CNN to really catch on.  At the very least, this should be a fun Friday diversion and hopefully could bring about some priceless reactions from CNN as they learn some journalistic responsibility.  And again, I have to ask.  Keep it clean and remember that it’s all in good fun.


2 responses to “Social Engineering Prank: CNN on Twitter

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