With the significance of the weekend quickly building into its emotional crescendo, people are sensitive to any mention of an attack on the United States. So when a prominent television channel finds that their Twitter feed has been hacked and was being used to spread erroneous news concerning a terrorist attack on Ground Zero, there’s a lot of backtracking that needs to be done, and a lot of ruffled feathers that require smoothing.
Just ask NBC News because they experienced this very thing on their Twitter account. While the offending tweets have been summarily removed, NBC is being very open about their account status, ensuring they have things under control. As indicated, the Ground Zero attack tweets have already been purged from NBC News’ feed, but at least one publication copied the offending text. Considering the content, which again, comes from a second hand source, NBC had no choice but to put out the social media fire. The text of the tweets in question, allegedly:
Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. more as the story develops.
Flight 4782 is not responding, suspected hijacking. One plane just hit Ground Zero site at 5:47. #groundzeroattacked.
This is not a joke, Ground Zero has just been attacked. We’re attempting to get reporters on the scene. #groundzeroattacked.
Soshable has a screenshot of the tweets in question:
Considering the significance of this weekend, not to mention the overall tone of the country in regards to said significance, to say these tweets were poorly timed and were weak attempts at humor is quite the understatement. For some reason, I’m reminded of the Orson Wells/War of the Worlds radio broadcast. If ever a Twitter account could inspire members of the population to panic, it would be under these conditions like this.
As of this moment, NBC News’ Twitter feed is under control, but they do have posts up acknowledging the hack:
Thank you for helping spread the word and not sharing bad information.
Our account is secure and under control. Apologize for the scare. We value your trust.
The hashtag of choice for the script kiddies who thought it would be a great idea to stir up painful emotions on such a significant weekend–#groundzeroattacked–still has some activity in it, but now, it’s filled with nothing but admonishment:
With that in mind, at least NBC News got out in front of the story. Hopefully, they corrected whatever “security flaw” that allowed others to take control of their Twitter feed. Password strength is not a myth, folks.