@cnnbrk ain’t CNN, but with >30K followers, he owns the brand

TechCrunch posted about CNN’s twitterings the other day: Apparently, the feed’s followers were upset about a tweet that spoiled their Olympic viewing experience by revealing golden boy Michael Phelps’ latest feat shortly after he kicked the aquatic asses of the world’s other really freakin’ fantastic swimmers.

But it wasn’t CNN that tweeted. It was cnnbrk, a bot written by news junkie James Cox that simply rebroadcasts CNN’s breaking news email alerts.

cnnbrk on Twitter

Twitter is the perfect medium for a news organization like CNN — they’re the first place you turn to see what’s going on, right now. cnnbrk has gathered 31,502 followers delivering that immediacy on the the most ADD site online, Twitter. CNN’s official feeds lag far behind: their cnn, CNN_Newsroom, cnni, politicalticker, and cnnireport have just over 8,400 followers, combined. (I’m pretty sure these are all maintained by folks at CNN — it’s kind of hard to tell.)

This *isn’t* CNN

The Guardian wrote about the brand confusion a couple of weeks ago, check out what Cox had to say:

“I do indeed wield the power of their brand: if I posted right now that Bush is due to be impeached, or that Diet Coke really still contained cocaine – I think the repercussions would be unpleasant. So I’ve been walking a fine line, ensuring that I keep somewhat under the radar, whilst also wishing that it would become even more popular.”

Cox isn’t pretending to be CNN, but the Olympic boondoggle did result in angry tweets directed toward CNN, and TechCrunch reported that CNN was the spoiler source — since then some twitterers have figured out that cnnbrk is not CNN, and TC has corrected the story.

I doubt that Cox will be able to keep this up if CNN decides to drop the hammer — I’m no expert but it seems like his use of the CNN name miiight be against the rules. (cnn follows cnnbrk, so Cox isn’t flying very far below the radar.)

4 thoughts on “@cnnbrk ain’t CNN, but with >30K followers, he owns the brand

  1. I’ve been in contact with CNN – they won’t sue, i’m fairly sure, however i’m constantly dealing with the problem of confusion – users still think that @cnnbrk is an official feed, therefore making me a defacto CNN employee, which is a problem.

  2. Hey, James! Glad you found us.

    I hope CNN wouldn’t sue — if they wanted control, the sensible (and much friendlier) thing to do would be to thank you for your hard work and offer a nice sum for your innovations.

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