Two Twitter accounts belonging to the Associated Press were hacked Tuesday afternoon, with a false tweet about explosions at the White House sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly down one percent.
The accounts, the main account of the newswire @AP and its mobile-centric account @AP_Mobile, were both suspended shortly after the tweet as dozens of AP employees quickly debunked the rogue tweet.
The offending tweet sent by @AP was: “Breaking: Two explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”
The tweet sparked a momentary “flash-crash” in the markets, which quickly recovered from a short sell-off. Earlier this month, following the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to allow companies to release material information via social media, Bloomberg began including tweets in its ubiquitous terminals.
A spokesperson for the SEC declined to comment on whether the regulatory agency will examine the trading. A Secret Service spokesman did not immediately have a response to the tweet.
AP’s White House correspondent Julie Pace corrected the tweet publicly at the start of the White House daily press briefing moments after it was sent.
“It appears as though AP’s Twitter account has been attacked, so anything that was just sent out … is obviously false,” she said, before continuing with the customary first question afforded to the wire.
“I appreciate that, and I can say that the president is fine, I was just with him,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed.
Hackers from then so-called “Syrian Electronic Army” took credit for compromising both accounts. The Associated Press reported that the hacking followed a phishing attempt on its corporate network. Media companies have been the target of hacking attempts for months. The same group claimed credit for hacking the Twitter account of CBS News’ “60 Minutes” last week and several hacking attempts on the BBC’s accounts, though this is by far the most prominent attack.