Yesterday, one of Fox News' Twitter feeds—Fox News Politics—was hacked and fake messages about President Obama's assassination were sent out. Now, the Secret Service says they are looking into the incident. Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said an investigation was in progress, "We will conduct the appropriate follow-up."
The fake Tweets appeared around 2 a.m., but even though Fox News knew of the issue, the Tweets weren't removed until noon. One question is why the Tweets remained online for so long: The NY Times reports, "A spokeswoman for Twitter, Carolyn Penner, would not address why the posts to the Fox News political account on Twitter stayed up so long, nor would she address reports about who was responsible," and Time's James Poniewozik theorizes, "As anyone who runs any business in America knows, July 4 is generally a time when you're running a skeleton crew, and it's possible that the reaction was so slow because (on Twitter's end or Fox's or both), responsible people were simply not available (or paying attention) right away." Twitter is based in California, so it's also possible that the time difference played a role.
A technology consultant told Information Week, "My guess is that whoever administers the Fox Twitter account is either using an easy-to-guess password, or is using the same password elsewhere on the Internet. For instance, they might be using the same password for Twitter as they do their email account. Or they might have used the same password on a message board," adding, "Clearly, staff need to be tutored on safe password usage--which not only includes choosing complex, hard-to-guess passwords, but also ensuring that you are not using the same password elsewhere on the net. Furthermore, it would be a sensible company policy not to share the password too widely inside the organization." In other words, stop with the pet names and birthdates.
The Fox News Digital vice president and general manager Jeff Misenti said, "We will be requesting a detailed investigation from Twitter about how this occurred, and measures to prevent future unauthorized access into FoxNews.com accounts."