Have you heard about the rumor of a White House bombing spread by a Tweet that momentarily shook the stock market?
On Tuesday, a Tweet went out from the Associated Press Twitter account stating there were explosions at the White House and Pres. Obama was injured. Almost immediately, the stock market lost $136 billion in collective value of shares.
It turns out hackers got into the Associated Press account and then put out the false info as legitimate. Business Week said the attack didn’t appear to be technologically sophisticated at all. It was just a simple hacking with a password seizure. (The $136 billion in losses were quickly gained back after the tweet was revealed as false.)
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Twitter has been both source of immediate comfort — as survivors tweeted out that they’re OK — and wild, unverified rumors like the AP hack.
I’m not picking on Twitter. With any social media, there’s a certain amount of anarchy. Taking things that are posted as absolute fact is dangerous. Even when they do come from supposed “friends” in cyberspace.
Just because the word is there doesn’t mean it’s the truth!