The Twitter account for NBC News was hacked Friday evening, and a series of alarmist tweets about a fake terrorist attack at Ground Zero were posted. The breach came just days before the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11th, at a time of heightened concern about the possibility of another attack.
The first message, posted at 5:49 p.m., read "Breaking News! Ground Zero has just been attacked. Flight 5736 has crashed into the site, suspected hijacking. more as the story develops."
A second tweet read "Flight 4782 is not responding, suspected hijacking. One plane just hit Ground Zero site at 5:47. #groundzeroattacked."
Then: "This is not a joke, Ground Zero has just been attacked. We're attempting to get reporters on the scene. #groundzeroattacked."
The response from NBC was quick. Less than ten minutes after the first fake tweet, Vivian Schiller, Chief Digital Officer for NBC News and MSNBC tweeted "Ignore tweets from @nbcnews till further notice. We've been hacked. Do not retweet."
Ryan Osborn, Director of Social Media at NBC News, urged others not to retweet anything from the NBC account. "The @NBCNews account has been hacked. Working on it. Please don't retweet any misinformation."
The group "The Script Kiddies" took responsibility for the hack.
NBC News has approximately 129,170 followers. As of 6:35 p.m. ET, it appears the NBC News Twitter account is suspended.
NBC News released this statement:
"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."