On Tuesday the main Associated Press Twitter account incorrectly tweeted news that there were two explosions at the White House and President Obama had been injured.
"Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured," the AP tweeted.
The message was a part of an alleged hack on the wire service's Twitter account, which has now been suspended. Associated Press tweeted a correction and update from their media relations account.
Advisory: @ap Twitter account has been hacked. Tweet about an attack at the White House is false. We will advise more as soon as possible.— AP CorpComm (@AP_CorpComm) April 23, 2013
Many people on Twitter immediately noticed the tweet was not in the AP's signature style, with "Breaking" not fully capitalized, no "President" title before Obama's name, and an extraneous "is." Other eagle-eyed commenters noted the tweet was sent from "web," even though AP typically uses the Social Flow tool to send tweets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell drastically in a "flash crash" following the fake tweets. The Dow had been up 130 points but fell into the red within two minutes of the false report, before bouncing back just as quickly on news of the hack, reports the Wall Street Journal.
White House press secretary Jay Carney began Tuesday’s press briefing with a dismissal of the false AP tweet. “The president is fine, I was just with him,” Carney said.
In a week full of examples of true explosions and false reports, the false AP tweet was seized upon by comedians on Twitter once it was clear the report was a hoax. The tag #APPasswords is being used to make fun of low-security passwords that hackers try to steal or guess.
RT @ap: Glee is a good show— rob delaney (@robdelaney) April 23, 2013
AP tried to use capital numbers in their password, but Twitter wouldn't allow it. #APPasswords— Not the AP (@NotTheAP_) April 23, 2013
#APPasswordsCNN reporting that the AP hacker listened to rap music.— Texas Born (@sergeantself36) April 23, 2013