AP Twitter Account Hacked, Tweet About Obama Shakes Market

Apr 23, 2013
Originally published on April 24, 2013 8:56 am

A Twitter account from The Associated Press was hacked Tuesday afternoon and the erroneous message — to be perfectly clear, it WAS NOT TRUE — sent stocks down sharply for a few moments.

The false message claimed there had been two explosions at the White House and that President Obama had been injured. Again, none of that happened.

Just after 1 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped about 130 points, around 1 percen. It quickly bounced back as the truth — that there had been no such explosions and that the president was fine — became apparent.

By 1:45 p.m. the Dow was firmly back in positive territory, more than 120 points (about 1 percent) up from Monday's close.

The AP's corporate communications department has posted this message on its Twitter page:

"The @AP Twitter account has been suspended after it was hacked. The tweet about an attack on the White House was false."

It isn't known yet who was behind the hacking.

Update at 2 p.m. ET. Syrian Electronic Army?

It appears the same pro-Bashar Assad group that hacked NPR.org on April 15, the Syrian Electronic Army, is claiming it was behind the AP hacking.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For a very brief moment today, some people thought that terrorists had struck the U.S. again. That's because of this tweet from the Associated Press. It read, breaking: Two explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured. It was false. The AP's Twitter account had been hacked.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

But that single tweet sent Wall Street tumbling. The Dow Jones fell more than 150 points before recovering after it was revealed that the tweet was a fake. A group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army is claiming responsibility for the hack as well as recent hacks at CBS's "60 Minutes," the BBC and here at NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.