The promoted trending topic on Twitter on Wednesday morning was #AskChevron, a hashtag similar to #AskJPM and #myNYPD, which resulted in social media disasters for J.P. Morgan and the New York Police Department, respectively. Here’s the twist, though: Chevron seemingly has nothing to do with #AskChevron. The company hasn’t tweeted the hashtag. Its Wednesday morning tweets, which were about its annual stockholders meeting, used the hashtags #Chevron and #stockholders, not #AskChevron. The account that has tweeted #AskChevron the most is @thetoxiceffect, an environmental group based in Ecuador. The group has a promoted tweet with an image listing transgressions that “Chevron is guilty of”:
— ToxicEffect (@thetoxiceffect) May 27, 2014
Despite Chevron’s having apparently nothing to do with #AskChevron, Twitter users are jumping on the company, directing questions to it using the hashtag, presumably under the belief that it did invite them. Here are a few examples:
#AskChevron Was “Techron” just a marketing spin for when you guys had all that sulfur in your gasoline?
— Justin Hammer (@JustinHammer3) May 28, 2014
— Burkely Hermann (@burkelyh) May 28, 2014
— Dayanita Ramesh (@DayanitaRamesh) May 28, 2014
— nicholas cherry (@kansasnick) May 28, 2014
So be warned, brand social media managers: You can be brandjacked without even initiating the conversation.