Hack of Twitter Account Exposes Social Media’s Weaknesses

Erroneous AP tweet about White House explosions sent stocks tumbling.

Less than a month after social media received regulators’ blessing to be a source for market-moving news, the hacking of the Associated Press’s Twitter Inc. account is raising concerns over the trustworthiness of information spread via the microblogging site.

Stocks tumbled about 1 percent yesterday after the Associated Press, one of the world’s largest news agencies, said a hacking attack caused it to send out an erroneous Twitter post about explosions at the White House. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index recovered after losing $136 billion in market value and AP later removed the account.

False Information

The false information from the AP account, which also said President Barack Obama had been injured, came after repeated attempts by hackers to gain access to AP reporters’ passwords, the news agency said. The AP said it was working to fix the vulnerability.

Maturing Medium

Corporations have been hacked as well. In February, the Twitter account for Jeep was taken over. About that same time, the account for Burger King also was compromised.

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