NBC Twitter account hacked, spreads false reports of attack

By Deborah Netburn/Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — Followers of NBC News’ Twitter feed were no doubt jarred Friday when the news agency seemed to begin tweeting reports about new attacks at the former site of the World Trade Center.

“Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. More as the story develops” read the first tweet from NBCNEWS at just before 6 p.m. EDT.

“This is not a joke, Ground Zero has just been attacked. We’re attempting to get more reporters on the scene. groundzeroattacked,” read another.

Just moments later, it was revealed that the tweets were in fact a joke. Or at least a hack.

One minute after posting the third of three fake tweets, a group called the Script Kiddies took responsibility for hacking into NBC News’ Twitter feed with another tweet. “NBCNEWS hacked by The Script Kiddies. Follow them at @s — kiddies.”

NBC quickly used its various other Twitter accounts to set the record straight.

NBCwashington wrote, “NBC News’s Twitter account has been attacked. NBC News is not reporting hijackings or attacks on Ground Zero.”

tomcostellonbc put it this way: “NBC News twitter account has been hacked. There is no new plane crash in nyc. Please RT.”

The entire incident happened at a breakneck pace only possible in the Twittersphere, and less than half an hour after the hack, Twitter had disabled the Script Kiddies’ account.

In the meantime, NBC News released this statement about the events:

“The NBC News twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on ground zero were sent to @NBCNews followers. We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act.”

The NBC News account, which has 112,000 followers, was temporarily taken offline. It was back up — and under NBC’s control — early Friday evening.