First Direct's love affair with social media took a cold bath last night when the UK online bank's Twitter account was hacked and used to send pornographic messages to followers.
First direct's 800+ followers found an unusually passionate message from the bank when they opened their Twitter accounts Friday morning.
The tweet, posted at 05.30 read: 'hey, I've been having better sex and longer with this here', and pointed to a link to a third party site.
The attack is part of a viral malware infection that has spread like wildfire across Twitter, with other high-profile UK victims including Cabinet Minister Ed Milliband and the Press Complaints Commisssion.
The bank resumed control of its account during business hours with the following message: 'Hi all, I'm sure you can tell, but we were hacked last night - please disregard any inappropriate tweets that purport to come from us!'
This was followed by a slightly panicky clarification: 'Re. previous Tweet I just want to clarify that only our Twitter account has been hacked!!! We've changed our password so all should be well.'
Which prompted a third message: 'no password issues, it was a link in a DM. No customer / personal data has been compromised. Sorry for any offense caused.'
First Direct is so far the only UK bank to openly embrace the micro-blogging service, and it has won plaudits and applause in social media circles for its willingness to engage with customers in a Web 2.0-connected environment.
The UK bank's misfortunes come just a week after Westpac provided an example of the potential pitfalls of Twitter when an employee accidentally posted a self-pitying tweet using the firm's official account, prompting scorn from followers.