NBC Hackers Who Faked Terrorist Attacks Prove Twitter Can't Be Trusted

"Breaking News: Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5738 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking."

"Flight 4782 not responding, suspected hijacking. One plane just hit Ground Zero site at 5:47."

"We're attempting to get reporters on the scene."

If you are one of NBC News' 130,000 Twitter followers, you may have received quite a shock when you read those tweets on Friday. While in retrospect the wording seems off and the information isn't as professionally presented as you'd expect from NBC, it was still coming from a major network news outlet -- and thus seemed credible. The alarming posts were retweeted over a hundred times within minutes, scaring the crap out of social media users worldwide.


As it turned out, three minutes after the posts went up, an explanation came from the jackasses who were responsible for spreading the false info: "NBCNEWS hacked by The Script Kiddies. Follow them at @s_kiddies!"

NBC quickly followed up with a statement designed to put people's minds at ease:

The NBC News Twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on ground zero were sent to @NBCNews followers. We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act.

The Script Kiddies are apparently an offshoot of the hacker group Anonymous who seem bent on using their powers for evil instead of good. They're suspected of being responsible for a Fox News Twitter hack in July, in which they gleefully reported that President Barack Obama had been killed.

Sending false information at lightning-speed across social media has become quite the disturbing trend lately. Not only are there a seemingly endless number of death hoaxes about celebrities (who are usually succumbing to fatal snowboarding accidents or plummeting off cliffs in New Zealand), legitimate news outlets are falling prey to the siren song of being FIRST! to report a hot "news item." Problem is, that news item isn't always correct. (Ahem, CBS.)

The constant access to information and the ease with which it's possible to share that information makes it all too tempting to hit that retweet link without thinking twice. I know I've done it, and I've seen plenty of the folks I follow do it too. In the case of a fleeting celebrity rumor, there's probably not much damage being done, aside from some scrambling from their agents, maybe. But when it comes to news that's misleading, potentially dangerous, or just plain terrifying, we should all do our part to make sure we're well informed before we spread it like a virus.

Of course, when the news is coming from a source like NBC, we expect that it's been vetted. We trust their information. At least, we used to.

Did you see the NBC tweets on Friday before you knew they were fake?

Image via Twitter

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