Network News Bedeviled by Bogus Tweets


CBS News and NBC News were both caught up in news reports stemming from Tweets that turned out to be untrue.

The two unrelated incidents happened on Friday, according to various reports, including these two stories – here and here – in the Hollywood Reporter.

In the CBS incident, a Tweet from a Twitter account for a Web TV series called “What’s Trending” – which had been hosting on its site since last May – reported that ailing Apple Chairman Steve Jobs had died. As is typical these days, the story spread quickly on the ’net though it happened to be untrue.

And even though the bogus Tweet did not come from CBS, the network quickly severed its hosting relationship with “What’s Trending,” according to THR.

In the case of NBC, a group of hackers is being blamed for issuing a news bulletin emanating from an NBC News Twitter account that a hijacked plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center site currently being rebuilt in lower Manhattan. “Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. More as the story develops,” said one Tweet. “This is not a joke, Ground Zero has just been attacked. We’re attempting to get reporters on the scene,” read the second shameful missive.

“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,” NBC News said in a statement. “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 FBI is also investigating, the THR story said.

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