AP Twitter feed hacked, false report of bombing at White House, stocks dive

Someone hacked the Associated Press’ Twitter account today, and tweeted that two bombs had just gone off at the White House and the President was injured.

ap-twitter-hack

As a result, the Dow Jones plummeted more than 120 points, surely costing someone a good amount of money, while others gained.

dow-jones-dropThe AP immediately put out a correction, informing people that the tweet was false and their account had been hacked.

Olivia Knox, a journalist I know who works for Yahoo News, asked how the markets could have reacted to a sole tweet, when no other news networks were reporting the alleged bombing:

I responded that, in today’s age, when the AP says something, you believe it, and you act on it. Especially the stock market – millions are to be made or lost based on who gets the information first and who acts on it first. He who hesitates can quite likely lose millions. And even look at coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing. If AP tweeted something about the bombing, I’d first check to make sure it was really AP’s twitter feed, but after that, I’d post it. Because I trust AP. I think Olivier’s other point sums it up well:


Also interesting, is Business Insider showing its email inbox following the alleged “attack” on the White House. The flurry of emails, legitimately questioning the veracity of the report, still create the impression that “something” happened, which only adds to the fury. Especially if you have millions riding on it.

But this really is interesting, to have this happen right after a week in which the media was criticized for responding too quickly to unconfirmed information they received from sources. Only to this week, see consumers of information do the same. But where do you draw the line? At some point you have to trust someone – be it Pete Williams or the Associated Press. And that’s why hacks like this are so successful, and so dangerous.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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