Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Tweets That Wagged The Dog ...

From MediaPost:

Fox News normally doesn't have any trouble making news in the mainstream media, but it was a hacker attack on the network's Twitter feed, not the cable news channel itself, that has created a firestorm for Fox News, illustrating the perils and pitfalls emerging media can have on established media.

The story began with a series of troubling tweets early Monday morning on Fox News' political news feed on Twitter: @foxnewspolitics. The feed included a half dozen tweets about President Barak Obama dying. Fox News declined to comment on the tweets, but stated it was the victim of a hacker and that it was investigating the matter. Apparently, so is the Secret Service, which doesn't take reports of the President's death lightly.

According to Twitter, its servers were never compromised, but the hacker must have gained access to Fox News' Twitter feed via an email associated with the account.

The incident shows the impact Twitter feeds can have -- for good or bad -- on the news surrounding mainstream media. Fox News's @foxnewspolitics feed has only 37,500 followers, but those followers and any retweets they made of the original Twitter feeds had generated a total of 1,338 stories on Google News as of Tuesday afternoon. The coverage ranged from tech trades to mainstream newspapers, including Fox News' sister paper The Wall Street Journal.

According to a The Washington Post, the group that allegedly conducted the Fox News Twitter hack, Script Kiddies, circulated a message claiming, "Fox News was selected because we figured their security would be just as much of a joke as their reporting."