AP Twitter Account Hacked, Tweet States Barack Obama Injured, White House Explosion: 5 Lessons Learned

ap-hacked twitter message april 23 2013

Social Media’s Benefits Are Also Its Perils:

A fake tweet can cause lots of havoc. No matter how off base a rumor is, it can have a significant impact if it affects financial markets. That’s what happened today when a fake tweet from the Associated Press shook the social media and financial community . The AP stated via its Twitter account the White House was hit with 2 explosions and President Obama was hurt.  The financial community had little time to react. Sell first and find out why later was the theme today and raises several questions about news sites tweeting as well as the viability of social media as an unconfirmed news source.

Because the source of the news was from AP, it was believed no matter how outlandish. Here are 5 lessons learned from the AP Twitter Hacking that caused a brief crash in the stock market today.

  1. Fake tweets from networks matter and news sites have little reputational spillovers when it comes to social media. The question is, should conventional news sites even use Twitter?
  2. Twitter’s security is lackluster. Twitter has had several high profile hackings recently and they seem to be growing.
  3. The positives of social media such as the quick spread of news such as hurricanes, earthquakes can be its own detriment when it comes to fake news and rumor.
  4. Twitter could soon become the social media site that cried wolf too many times.
  5. As social media grows, so do incentives to hack. That’s what happened to MySpace aside from becoming a large digital phonebook of unconnected people.

Twitter showed just how powerful of a medium it is when the stock market fell over 120 points in less than 1 minute. It may have been one of the fastest downdrafts in market history – and it made a comeback just as fast.  In the future, the biggest lesson I learned from the fake Tweet from the AP today and social media in general – trust but verify via search engines.  The recent reaction from social media after the Boston Marathon bombings showing graphic images makes it clear that social media has its pros and cons.  Today was more of a con…..

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