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News flash: You can’t trust what’s on Twitter

Updated: October 20, 2011 12:27AM



Sometime around 1 a.m. Central Time on the Fourth of July, the Fox News Politics Twitter account was hacked, and the hoaxers started posting messages such as:

“@BarackObama has just passed. The President is dead. A sad 4th of July, indeed. President Barack Obama is dead.”

“@BarackObama shot twice at Ross’ restuarant in Iowa while campaigning. RIP, Obama, best regards to the Obama family.”

“We wish @joebiden the best of luck as our new President of the United States. In such a time of madness there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

The @foxnewspolitics Twitter account has more than 35,000 followers, so there’s little doubt that even at that post-midnight hour, some folks read those Tweets and believed them to be true, if only for a few moments before checking any and all other news sources to verify the information.

At one point, the Fox News logo was replaced by what appeared to be “SK” and the Twitter description, “H4CK3D BY TH3 5CR1PT K1DD3S,” i.e., “hacked by the Script Kids” or “Scriptkiddies,” the group that claimed responsibility for the hack.

In an interview with Think magazine, someone claiming to be a member of the hackers said they were linked to the notorious group of hackers known as Anonymous and stated, “We are looking to find information about corporations to assist with antisec [a collective hacker effort to disrupt corporate and government security]. Fox News was selected because we figured their security would be just as much of a joke as their reporting.”

On Fox News’ unhacked website, a statement was posted:

“Hackers sent out several malicious and false Tweets claiming that President Obama had been assassinated. Those reports are incorrect, of course, and the president is spending the July 4 holiday with his family at the White House.

“FoxNews.com alerted the Secret Service, which is declining public comment.

“FoxNews.com regrets any distress the false Tweets may have created.”

Give us back our Tweets!

Perhaps more surprising than the hacking incident was that some nine hours passed before the false Tweets appeared and were taken down. Obviously the legit people had a difficult time wresting control of the account back from the hackers.

As for anyone that may have been duped by the Tweets, may have re-tweeted the false reports or contacted a friend to say, “Oh my God, did you hear what happened?” — such moves can easily be prevented. Whenever and wherever you read a Tweet or a Facebook posting or any social media entry about breaking news, you’re literally clicks away from being able to check it out from multiple other sources.

Talented as these rogue groups are, they can’t hack the entire Internet.

Can they?

A real original

Somebody sent me a link to a show coming to the Auditorium Theatre July 6-24.

It’s called “The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers ™,” with tickets priced from $25-$55.

“For three weeks only, your favorite Blues Brothers moments and songs come to life in the legendary Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers. Jake and Elwood Blues bring a humorous, swinging and lively show to Chicago ...

“The Blues Brothers trademark is owned by Daniel Aykroyd and Judith Belushi Pisano.”

Aykroyd of course created the Blues Brothers for “Saturday Night Live” in 1978 along with John Belushi. Judith is John’s widow. The “SNL” appearances led to a bestselling album, “Briefcase Full of Blues,” which led to a hit movie in 1980.

Various editions of the Blues Brothers played on after Belushi’s death in 1982. There was the Aykroyd-Jim Belushi-John Goodman edition that did some live performances, starred in the forgettable movie “Blues Brothers 2000,” sanctioned copycat bands that have played at theme parks, video games, a cartoon, more albums ...

And now we’ve got a tribute band to an act that was a tribute band in the first place. I’m thinking some of the audience members for this show will have only a passing knowledge of John Belushi’s work, let alone the music of the blues artists that inspired the act that inspired the tribute show they’re watching.



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