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New York Comic Con in hot water for hijacking Twitter accounts

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(Credit: NYCC)

Notice a flood of overexcited tweets about this weekend's New York Comic Con in your Twitter feed? That wasn’t a mass hallucination -- it was by design. By nefarious, promotional, fine-print design.

Fans and professionals attending the big east coast comic convention were miffed when they discovered that the show's organizers somehow hijacked their Twitter accounts to post oddly enthusiastic tweets about the convention – including links to its official Facebook page -- without their permission.

The most high-profile tweet came from IGN’s acerbic Greg Miller, who awkwardly professed his love in a rhyming tweet:

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The thing is, he didn’t write it.

“Hey, @NY_Comic_Con. I did not Tweet this,” he tweeted back. “What the hell? Your wifi? Your app?”

Hundreds of other showgoers were similarly hacked to blast out promotional tweets right as the con’s doors opened Thursday night.

So how did it happen? It turns out the sneaky feat was accomplished via show badges packing radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, an anti-counterfeit measure tying the badge to one user. Reedpop, the show’s organizers, then encouraged badge holders to virtually link up their social media accounts – a seemingly harmless option. But by doing so, the attendees unwittingly let the convention blast out tweets upon scanning their badge for entry.

In a statement to gaming site Polygon, the NYCC apologized for the debacle on Friday.

"As you may have seen yesterday, there were some posts to Twitter and Facebook issued by New York Comic Con on behalf of attendees after RFID badges were registered," the organizers said. "This was an opt-in function after signing in, but we were probably too enthusiastic in our messaging and eagerness to spread the good word about NYCC. We have since shut down this service completely and apologize for any perceived overstep. Please accept our apologies and have an absolutely excellent time this weekend. "

Nice try, but that apology is a little empty when you’ve Big Brothered your way into your fans’ personal accounts. What a con, indeed.

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