This morning Tweetdeck pinged and alerted me to this tweet from a friend of mine.
— Robin Houston (@robinhouston) April 17, 2015
He was right too. The article was about Reddit’s Button and about half-way though it, they quoted my tweet.
I am becoming obsessed with The Button – http://t.co/wpdgUGTUYh Haven't pressed it yet.
— Dave Cross (@davorg) April 14, 2015
My reaction was predictable.
Argh! I'M IN THE FUCKING DAILY MAIL!! http://t.co/I2BK0gVrHx
— Dave Cross (@davorg) April 17, 2015
I was terribly embarrassed. Being quoted in the Daily Mail isn’t exactly great for your reputation. So I started wondering if there was anything I could do to to recover the situation.
Then it came to me. The Mail were following Twitter’s display guidelines and were embedding the tweets in the web page (to be honest, that surprised me slightly – I was sure they would just take a screenshot). This meant that every time someone looked at the Mail’s article, the Mail’s site would refresh its view of the tweet from Twitter’s servers.
You can’t edit the content of tweets once they had been published. But you can change some of the material that is displayed – specifically your profile picture and your display name.
So, over lunch I took a few minutes to create a new profile picture and I changed my display name to “The Mail Lies”. And now my tweet looks how you see it above. It looks the same on the Mail article.
As I see it, this can go one of two ways. Either I the Mail notice what I’ve done and remove my tweet from the article (in which case I win because I’m no longer being quoted by the Daily Mail). Or they don’t notice and my tweet is displayed on the article in its current form – well at least until I get bored and change my profile picture and display name back again.
This afternoon has been quite fun. The caper has been pretty widely shared on Twitter and Facebook and couple of people have told me that I’ve “won the internet”.
So remember boys and girls, publishing unfiltered user-generated content on your web site is always a dangerous prospect.