Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It Was Reported BUT It Really Didn't Happen!

It's been a rough week-plus for the news rooms of the United States, but a wake-up call and lesson for every organization that has social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Vine and web based blogs.

In the early hours after the Boston Marathon bombing, one social media news site posted a false report that a missing student was connected to the bombing.  And, CNN and the Associated Press, along with a handful of other major news organizations reported -- as fact -- a suspect had been arrested for the bombing. 

The report was flat false.

Then, only days later, the Associated Press Twitter account was hacked and someone posted a tweet reporting two explosions had hit the White House  (NOT TRUE) and the President was injured (NOT TRUE).

The @APTwitter account has close to two-million followers, and within minutes after the false report the feed was suspended, but not before several thousand re-Tweets.

Big bad news contributes to at least two things...the AP's reputation and trust factor was brought into question, and the purported news of the attack sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average into a 140 point dive.  Fortunately, as soon as the mistake was reported and confirmed, the Dow shot back up.

Social media accounts linked to CBS 60 Minutes and 48 Hours were hacked Saturday and earlier the same group taking credit for the latest hack struck the Twitter feeds of National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Company.  The Syrian Electronic Army claims all five attacks.

The experts say we are all too casual about password protection in our digital world, and until we strengthen password access to all of our on-line systems, we can expect these kinds of attacks more frequently.

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