Last week, surprisingly fake messages started appearing out of two CBS Twitter accounts like @60minutes and @48hours. The tweets addressed sensitive issues like gun-control laws in the US and the Syrian rebellion. CBS has confirmed on its own CBS News Twitter account that this was a hack attempt and they are working with Twitter to resolve this problem.
RT @60minutes: PLEASE NOTE: Our Twitter account was compromised earlier today. We are working with Twitter to resolve.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 21, 2013
Soon after the hack, the CBS Denver and the @60minutes accounts started spewing spam links with fake news reports. All the compromised accounts have been suspended by Twitter. The @60minutes account was claimed back by CBS, only to be hacked once again.
These hacks seem to have been carried out by the Syrian Electronic Army, which claimed responsibility on the @60minutes Twitter account after compromising it for a second time. The Syrian Electronic Army was also responsible for hacking BBC, Reuters and NPR Twitter accounts back in March this year. The Syrian conflict has spread online, and this is the first time that a rebellion is using online misinformation to spread its propaganda further.
Although the accounts are all suspended for now, All Things D managed to get a screen shot of the malicious tweets.
Twitter account hacks are happening with a scary regularity, and it seems that Twitter as a platform is unable to deal with this. A powerful social media tool like Twitter should work towards introducing preventive measures against these situations, rather than jumping in and making amends only after accounts are hacked.