No, the White House is not under attack, and President Obama is doing just fine. A little after 1 p.m. EST, a rather surprising tweet was posted by The Associated Press' usually reliable Twitter account. A screengrab:
The AP's account was immediately suspended, and it quickly became apparent that the esteemed news organization was the latest victim of a hack. CBS News, for example, has been wrestling the pro-regime Syrian Electronic Army for control of two of its Twitter feeds over the last few days. In the AP's case, we don't know who was behind the hack, at least not yet.
That is a bogus @ap tweet.— AP CorpComm (@AP_CorpComm) April 23, 2013
As BuzzFeed's Samir Mezrahi points out, the way the tweet was sent was inconsistent with the way the AP usually does things, namely because the tweet was sent using "the web," not Social Flow, a popular tool for managing social media accounts:
The AP tweet was via web, most of their tweets appear to come from SocialFlow twitter.com/samir/status/3…— Samir Mezrahi (@samir) April 23, 2013
Others journalism nerds proudly noted that the tweet itself deviated from the AP Stylebook.
And lastly, if you were worried momentarily that the new thriller movie Olympus Has Fallen had become a grim reality, you could've turned to the White House itself. (A livefeed being spread around turned out to be a parody website.)
White House spokesman Carney says Obama is fine: @reuters— Robert MacMillan (@bobbymacReports) April 23, 2013
As Slate's Matthew Yglesias points out, even Wall Street took a quick nosedive after the apparent "news," before picking itself back up:
The lesson, as always, is that it's best to approach anything you see on social media with a healthy dose of skepticism. That's partly what's so great about it: Twitter can spread bad information, sure. But it also self-polices, eventually bringing out the truth.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- The culture war finally comes to the Catholic Church
- Feast your eyes on this beautiful linguistic family tree
- How science can help you survive scary movies
Subscribe to the Week