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Shell Targeted by Greenpeace Hoax Twitter Account, Website

Greenpeace has created a bogus social media response team, supposedly representing oil company Shell, that is pretending to battle the spread of fake ads emanating from a hoax Shell web site, reports Forbes.

Hoax site ArcticReady.com, also set up by the activist group, uses the Shell logo and branding to criticize the company’s plans to drill in the Arctic.

One of its features is an ad generator that allows uses to create fake Shell advertisements. Examples include a picture of a baby arctic fox above the slogan “You can’t run your SUV on ‘cute’. Lets Go.”

This week the Twitter account @ShellIsPrepared tweeted “Our team is working overtime to remove inappropriate ads. Please stop sharing them.” The account is actually managed by Greenpeace. The pressure group tweeted such statements multiple times in an attempt to actually increase the reach of the adverts. As word of the bubbling PR “fiasco” reached social media users, they retweeted, replied to, and commented on “Shell’s” tweets, spreading the message further and further.

A fake press release also claimed that the company was considering legal action, according to the National Post.

But the real Shell responded, according to Forbes, “The advertising contest is not associated with Shell, and neither is the site it’s on. And Shell did not file legal action in this matter. Our focus is on safely executing our operations.”

At first glance, ArcticReady.com, launched a few weeks ago, looks like an official Shell web site, complete with pictures of Shell drilling rigs and nods to the challenges of global climate change contained. But on closer appraisal the picture of a mobile oil rig subtitled “Let’s Hit the Beach” is linked to a story about a Shell vessel recently slipping its anchor and narrowly avoided running aground. (Environmental Leader’s coverage of that story is here.)

Faux Shell public relations text on the web site claims, “Shell are committed to not only recognize the challenges that climate change brings but to take advantage of its tremendous opportunities.” The biggest opportunity offered by climate change is “the melting Arctic,” the web site says.

The site is part of the same campaign that released a supposedly candid video, ostensibly of a calamitous PR event. In the video, “Shell representatives” demonstrate a model of an oil rig. The faulty-on-purpose model sprays “oil” – cola was used as a stand-in – into the face of the 84-year-old lady demonstrating the rig, much to the shock of the audience.

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