Panic ensued on Wall Street when The Associated Press Twitter account (@AP) was hacked, and the following message was tweeted on April 23, 2013:
Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured
News industry professionals should’ve known this was fake by the inconsistencies in the use of uppercase letters – if anyone has to follow AP Style, it’s The AP!
In the news business, there’s a rule that we all learned in our first journalism class (Thanks, Professor Bush!). In any news story, always interview at least three credible sources. This is to ensure accuracy.
This same tactic can be applied to this kind of social media crisis. Before panicking over a tweet (even from a credible source, such as The Associated Press), we should seek out at least one other source that corroborates the story.
Although news is quick and easy to see on Twitter, check out the actual news site since Twitter accounts are easily compromised. According to today’s CBS News story, @AP isn’t the only news organization twitter handle that’s currently suspended due to hacks:
Over the weekend, CBS News confirmed that its ’60 Minutes’ and ’48 Hours’ Twitter accounts were compromised. Both accounts remain suspended at present time.