Charter's Social Media Strategy: Hijack Opposition's Name

Three weeks ago, opponents to Charter's proposed merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks formed a new organization, the Stop Mega Cable coalition, to lobby against the deal.

The group sent out notices to the press, began convening meetings with regulators, and started tweeting under the handle @StopMegaCables.

But the organization apparently didn't also create an account with its precise name -- @StopMegaCable (without the 's').

Someone at Charter obviously realized the situation, and deemed it appropriate to hijack the coalition's name: Since Feb. 3, Charter has used its new Twitter account @StopMegaCable to send out nine tweets -- mainly to pieces that criticize merger opponent Dish, but also to a report about Netflix's support for Charter's proposed acquisitions.



A Charter spokesperson said its decision to use @StopMegaCable "was meant in jest," according to Politico, which first reported the account.

The company added: "We thought that pointing out that a 'coalition' that hadn’t even secured a Twitter handle would be the best evidence that it is little more than a shill for the business interests of DISH Network."

Dish is a member of the coalition, but so are groups like Public Knowledge and Consumers Union. Besides, if there's a connection between not using a particular Twitter handle and being "shill" for Dish, it isn't immediately obvious.

For its part, the Stop Mega Cable Coalition isn't amused. “Charter’s attempt to frame this as a joke is, itself, laughable. Not one of their tweets read as humorous; all deceive people into clicking on pro-merger links," a spokesperson said in an email.

So far, neither group has taken social media by storm. The official StopMegaCables account has just 17 followers, while Charter's StopMegaCable account has garnered 99 followers as of Wednesday afternoon.

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