There is capitalism, then there are those that use shady business practices to further their objectives; in this case, a European furniture company named Habitat. The store has been described as a high-end Ikea, or similar to Pier One. The stores have been in business for thirty years, founded by a man named Terence Conran.
It seems that the furniture seller, on Twitter as @HabitatUK, used the highest trending traffic #hashtags to have people sign up for its database. None of the tweets had anything to do with furniture, shopping, sales, or its business. Pete Cashmore at Mashable stated:
"Some of the worst hashtag spam we’ve seen in a long time, European furniture maker Habitat has been caught spamming Twitter to drive traffic to increase signups to its customer database."
Besides using Iran, Habitat used hashtags for iPhone, Apple, TrueBlood, and others. The company has since apologized and removed the spam tweets. In the apology, Claire, the Habitat spokesperson had this to say to Social Media Today:
"The top ten trending topics were pasted into hashtags without checking with us and apparently without verifying what all of the tags referred to. This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat. We were shocked when we discovered what happened and are very sorry for the offence that was caused. This is totally against our communications strategy. We never sought to abuse Twitter, have removed the content and will ensure this does not happen again."
Later, when the incident was thought to have been instigated by an ad agency, Habitat responded:
"In response to speculation, we would like to clarify – this was not done by an agency. The hashtags were uploaded without Habitat’s authorisation by an overenthusiastic intern who did not fully understand the ramifications of his actions. He is no longer associated with Habitat."
But the damage has been done, intern or not. And who's monitoring the Social Media at Habitat? Don't the employees follow their own tweets? Or, is it possible that the intern ploy was just, well, convenient?