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.


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.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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13 Responses to “AP Twitter feed hacked, false report of bombing at White House, stocks dive”

  1. Drew2u says:

    A Bain is as plain as rain on the plains.

  2. BeccaM says:

    So be it.

  3. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Since the law sees a corporation as a person, I think that counts as an ad hominem attack.

  4. monopole says:

    But, But, if Wall Street’s claims that Obama is worse than 50 Hitlers were actually believed, wouldn’t the news cause the dow to spike upwards?

  5. Naja pallida says:

    If you or I did that, we’d be jailed for financial crimes. If Goldman Sachs did it, their management would all be given multi-million dollar bonuses.

  6. Naja pallida says:

    Over the last few years, more often than not, I’ve had to double check AP’s headlines with The Onion anyway, so not really sure how being hacked changes much on their side of things.

  7. BeccaM says:

    Only if you weren’t caught doing it.

    Wait, what am I saying? Of course you’re right — this is America. Land of the free and home of the bankster un-prosecuteds. You just gotta make sure you’re not a small fish.

  8. The stock market is largely run by computers that react to changes in the market based solely on pre-set algorithms. If one or two big companies jumped the gun this could have triggered the dip before a human or an automatic safeguard stepped in.

  9. theophrastvs says:

    So one could get rich by hacking a twitter (or other social media) account and selling sort?

  10. Ninong says:

    The (pro-Assad) Syrian Electronic Army is claiming responsibility for the fake AP tweet: http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-hackers-ap-twitter-syrian-electronic-army-20130423,0,244289.story

  11. BeccaM says:

    The same Associated Press that, along with CNN, announced wrongly last Thursday that police had a Boston Marathon bombing suspect in custody?

    Yeah — at this point I’d take any sensationalized report from the AP, even if it was legitimately issued, with a honkin’ big grain of salt.

  12. SkippyFlipjack says:

    The markets don’t like uncertainty. It seems nuts but it makes sense in some way that they’d react to the fake news, because for a short time there will be general uncertainty as to whether the news was real. It’s circular and irrational but the stock market is circular and irrational.

  13. Freday63 says:

    What troubles me is that there are companies out there betting against America just waiting for something to go horribly wrong and profiting from it bigtime.

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