'Call of Duty' Tweets of Fake Terrorist Attack Spark Backlash

by NBC News and Associated Press /  / Updated 
Image: Screen grab from "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3"
A series of tweets promoting the latest "Call of Duty" video game came described a terrorist attack with no immediate disclaimers stating that it was fictional.Activision

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A series of promotional tweets for the latest "Call of Duty" video game came under some criticism because they described a terrorist attack with no immediate disclaimers stating that they were fictional.

The "War of the Worlds"-style tweets sent Tuesday were designed to look like those of a news organization. The first tweet announced "breaking news" in all capital letters and unconfirmed reports of an explosion at the Singapore Marina.

Later tweets announced declarations of a state of emergency and martial law, along with the dispersion of riot police and attempts by people to flee a new "quarantine zone."

Several news organizations posted screen captures showing that the "Call of Duty" Twitter feed's user name, profile image and background photo were changed to look like those of a news organization, though the @callofduty Twitter handle remained unchanged.

Image: Screen grab from "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3"
A series of tweets promoting the latest "Call of Duty" video game came described a terrorist attack with no immediate disclaimers stating that it was fictional.Activision

Some Twitter followers appeared confused initially, tweeting replies such as "what the heck?" Then replies grew critical, calling the tweets "utterly distasteful" and "irresponsible."

"This tweet comes at a bad time considering with what's going on in the world," another read.

The account later stated that the tweets were promotional and the account reverted back to its usual appearance.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops III" takes place in a fictional city overrun by zombies. Officials for Activision Blizzard Inc. of Santa Monica, California, which produces the "Call of Duty" games, didn't immediate respond to requests for comment.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news