The Scoop: Ticketmaster silent after alleged attack compromising data of 560 million people

Plus: The questions around the Trump verdict; Google makes changes after AI search snafu.

Ticketmaster suffered an alleged hack.

Let’s address the elephant in the room: Former President Donald Trump was convicted Thursday on 34 felony counts. He will be sentenced just days before the Republican National Convention to formerly nominate him as their presidential candidate.

We won’t be analyzing the PR implications of this historic outcome; not only is that deeply uncertain, but Trump has long bucked conventional public relations wisdom to his benefit. But it’s wise to be aware of the destabilizing effect this outcome is likely to have — on politics, on personal interactions, on the economy.

On to your regular Scoop.

Ticketmaster has had a difficult week. It’s facing its own legal troubles as the Department of Justice is suing the megacorp on alleged monopolistic behavior. But it also appears that the company has been the victim of a massive data breach.

A group of hackers called ShinyHunters claims they have obtained data on 560 million Ticketmaster customers. CBS News reports that data includes “the full names of Ticketmaster customers addresses, phone numbers, partial credit card details, and order and transaction info.”

Experts caution that it’s still unclear whether or not the hack is real or a publicity stunt by the hacking group, though it’s worth noting that ShinyHunters has pulled off audacious attacks in the past, including a massive 2020 hack that impacted 60 companies. The data is available for sale for $500,000.

Curiously, Ticketmaster is remaining mum on the hack. Both the Australian and American governments have confirmed they’re investigating the hack, but there’s not so much as a simple statement from Ticketmaster saying they, too, are looking into the validity of the claims.



Why it matters:

Ticketmaster’s silence is resounding. The news of the purported attacks broke more than 24 hours ago, and they have offered no information at all to the more than half a billion people who may have been impacted by this attack.

Things are uncertain in the first hours of a crisis, certainly. No one expects them to know everything yet. But simply stating that they’re aware of the rumors, are investigating and working to safeguard customer data would show involvement and empathy without needing to know every detail of this murky situation.

Their lack of any response is unlikely to endear them further to the American public or the Department of Justice.

Data breaches and hacks are a near inevitability for any organization. A stock response should be in all crisis playbooks.

So, where’s Ticketmaster’s?

Editor’s Top Reads:

  • Over the holiday weekend, the internet was flooded with screenshots of ridiculous, sometimes dangerous responses from Google’s new AI search, encouraging users to include some glue in their pizza sauce or eat one rock a day. Google claims at least some of those screenshots were doctored and said that users should perform searches for themselves to see if it’s real or not (which seems like it could backfire — it could also show a deeply broken AI response). But they’ve also implemented a number of changes to the model, the Wall Street Journal reports. This includes not offering AI summaries on questions deemed “nonsensical” and limiting user-generated content replies, where the AI struggles to determine what’s true and what’s a bad Reddit joke. It’s another rocky start for a Google AI product, but we’ll see how these refinements impact the overall product.
  • NPR reports that the Wall Street Journal has laid off more journalists. Often considered the Holy Grail for business media placements, the Journal has continued to shrink despite strong subscription growth, profits by its parent company and a huge new deal with OpenAI to train on the company’s data. Nevertheless, at least eight reporters on the national news and breaking news beats were laid off. “Our Editor-in-chief is reshaping our newsroom with an eye towards digital growth, subscription growth and high-quality journalism,” a spokesperson said. It’s a blow to a beloved publication — and apt to make it even harder to land in its pages.
  • Alexander Wang employed a number of celebrity lookalikes to promote its new handbag. While “Taylor Swift,” “Ariana Grande,” “Beyonce” and “Kylie Jenner” don’t hold up past a quick glance, it’s certainly enough to stop a scroll. “100 per cent certified authentic,” the caption teases. While clever and impactful, the spot could backfire: Grande sued Forever 21 for a similar stunt in 2019, eventually settling out of court for an undisclosed sum. It’s a reminder that while audacious social media can get attention, it’s always wise to make friends with your legal department.

Allison Carter is editor-in-chief of PR Daily. Follow her on or LinkedIn.


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