The NBC News Twitter account, @NBCNews, was hacked late Friday, resulting in false reports about an airplane attack at Ground Zero, the Manhattan site of the original 9/11 attacks. The Twitter account was quickly taken offline, and has since been restored, with the false tweets removed.
NBC News immediately issued the following official statement after the hack:
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.
While the account is a news feed featuring original reporting and headlines from NBC News, it is one of several from NBC and msnbc.com. Msnbc.com is a joint venture of NBC Universal, parent of NBC News, and Microsoft.
A hacker group called “The Script Kiddies” claimed responsibility via a tweet on the hacked account. “The Script Kiddies” are known as an off-shoot of the hacker collective known as Anonymous. The group’s Twitter account was also taken offline.
This is not the first time “The Script Kiddies” hacked a news agency’s social media feeds. In July, the @foxnewspolitics account was compromised, and used to spread a false report of an alleged assassination of President Obama. Then, as now, the tweets were quickly dismissed as the work of pranksters.
NBC is contacting authorities, including the New York Police Department and FBI, about the incident.