BBC sorry over Game of Thrones nudity notification

Smartphone users left baffled after BBC News app sends out bizarre push notification by accident

BBC's Broadcasting house
(Image credit: 2012 Getty Images)

Millions of people were left baffled today when the BBC News app sent out a peculiar breaking news message about nudity in Game of Thrones.

Subscribers to the app's news alerts are normally sent major breaking news stories to their phones in the form of push notifications.

But today they received a slightly bizarre one: "NYPD Twitter campaign 'backfires' after hashtag hijacked. Push sucks! Pull blows! BREAKING NEWS No nudity in the latest episode of Game of Thrones!!! MORE BREAKING NEWS IIIIII like testing."

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The alert, which was sent twice, appeared to merge a real story from April 2014 about a New York Police Department Twitter campaign with an invented "breaking news" story about a lack of nudity in a Game of Thrones episode – with plenty of exclamation marks in between.

Several people took to Twitter to ask if the BBC News app was "drunk" or if it needed a "lie down".

I think my BBC news app is drunk. Not only is it not breaking news, it's just a random collection of words. — Stewart A (@FuzzyGolf) June 25, 2014

Many assumed it had been hacked by pranksters.

My BBC app alerts seem to have had a nervous breakdown - — Kaya Burgess [Times] (@kayaburgess) June 25, 2014

But a spokesperson from the BBC told the Daily Telegraph an "unnamed employee" who was testing new features of the app was to blame. Rather than publishing the message on an internal testing system, they pushed it to all users of the real app by accident. The BBC subsequently apologised to anyone who was "unnecessarily interrupted with the alert".

We apologise for previous two test push notifications which were sent in error to BBC News app subscribers — BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 25, 2014

"It's egg on the face and a stern reprimand for one fat-fingered BBC News staffer," says The Guardian's Media Monkey.

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