‘Obama Dead’ Hoax Sweeps Twitter After Fox News Feed Hack

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Hackers have been celebrating July 4th in their own unique kind of way by taking control of the Fox News Politics Twitter feed and using it declare the death of President Barack Obama.

Rest assured, the President remains alive and well. The only dead thing here is Fox News Politics’ Twitter password.

The hacker (or hackers) took a while to build up steam with their stream of misinformation. The first few messages they posted began with “@BarackObama”, meaning they’d only appear in the timelines of people who follow Fox News and the Presidential account.

Later messages changed tactics and used a hashtag. Many people saw through the hoax immediately, but you know what Twitter is like: the hashtag took on a life of its own, and became a meme within minutes.

The hoax had added weight thanks to its origin from a professional news organisation, which helped it speed its way on via retweets. At the time of writing, the fake posts were still visible on the compromised Twitter feed, between two and three hours after they’d been posted.

The lessons are, as always:

  • Don’t believe everything you read on the internet,
  • don’t believe everything you read on the internet,
  • make sure you have a strong unique password for your Twitter account, and
  • don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

UPDATE: Fox News confirmed the hack in a brief statement this morning.

(Via The Guardian)