The Twitter account of the Associated Press was hacked today and a bogus tweet was sent claiming President Obama had been hurt in an explosion.
The AP's media relations' department tweeted around 1:40 p.m. ET today, "Advisory: @AP Twitter account has been hacked. Tweet about an attack at the White House is false. We will advise more as soon as possible."
The news service also tweeted a link to its story on the hack, which noted that the phony tweet claimed that there had been two explosions at the White House, injuring the president. The story also noted that the hack, which affected AP's Twitter account and the AP Mobile Twitter account, was preceded by a phishing attempt on AP's corporate network.
AP's Twitter account has been suspended.
The AP did not respond to a request for comment and Twitter declined to comment for "privacy and security reasons."
According to financial news site MarketWatch, the tweet also caused U.S. stocks to drop briefly. Once it was clear that the news of the explosions was false, stocks bounced back.
The White House's Twitter account ignored the fake tweet.
"Twitter has become a major news source for consumers and journalists alike," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "Rightly or wrongly, people tend to believe that any tweet they read is accurate, regardless of whether there's any corroboration from other sources."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is email@example.com.