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Hotelier’s shock after Twitter account hacked

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By Fiona Reid
Hotelier’s shock after Twitter account hacked

“VILE hackers” targeted a Lockerbie hotel’s Twitter page — using it to compare First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to Hitler.

The Townhead Hotel’s Twitter page, which was followed by over 300 people, came under fire last week after a tweet which likened Ms Sturgeon to the Nazi leader was published.

The post, which tagged the senior politician personally, read: “I really wish Hitler NS would change the record. She is Scotland’s shame. #BetterTogether”.

It caused massive outrage online, with some SNP supporters threatening to boycott the hotel.

Iain MacLaren tweeted “Where not to stay in Lockerbie” and sharedascreenshot of the original tweet. But no-one was more shocked by the tweet than the hotel’s owner, Stephen Montgomery, whose Facebook page was also targeted.

Northern Ireland born Mr Montgomery described his business accounts being hacked and the ensuing response as not just the worst thing he had experienced as a publican in Lockerbie, but as the worst thing that happened to him since living in Scotland.

He was preparing to jet off on holiday for a week when out of the blue he received a phone call from a stranger in Dundee, who alerted him to the poor taste tweet and warned him that backlash was already starting to spread.

Shocked, Stephen — who is an infrequent Twitter user — immediately tried to access his account to take down the rogue tweet.

He also put up an explanation and apology and then deleted his hacked account. But the damage was done and the tweet had already been shared and messages, angry phone calls and even fake damning customer reviews followed.

Stephen said: “My main concern is for my staff, family and customers. “One of my staff was left in tears after being shouted at down the phone, that should never happen.

“People threatened to put bad reviews on Trip Advisor, we’re ranked number one in Lockerbie for hotels and restaurants and tops for restaurants in the region, that’s due to our staff’s dedication and it would be devastating for the whole team if that was jeopardised.

“All these people were from the Central Belt and above, none of them were local but they were encouraging people not to come to the Townhead, it’s been very upsetting for the whole team.”

Twitter are currently investigating the incident and it is not yet known who is responsible, but Stephen has complete faith that it’s no one close to the business, such as an employee.

And urging others to secure their social media accounts, he said: “I’ve changed passwords, I had the same password for a lot of accounts, and I’d urge others to make sure they don’t repeat my mistake and keep their passwords unique.”


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