They’ve all had their Twitter accounts hacked. The most recent case, affecting the AP, took place today and it involved Obama – which could even be seen as a type of digital treason:
BREAKING: Two explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured
Not only did this single tweet affect the US stock market, which dipped shortly after it was posted, but in the long-term it may have dented the credibility of the news agency. It won’t just be the AP that’a looking for answers, the nation will be as the US comes to terms with its vulnerability after the Boston bombings .
The rise in Twitter hacking makes me question whether businesses are taking enough precautions with their social media passwords. The average consumer has 7.9 unique passwords and 40% think it’d be easier to solve world peace than remember all their logins. But, that’s no excuse for making them so simple. It needs to be unique and known by a select few. The AP says it was duped by a impressive disguised phishing email.
The question for PRs is how prepared are you to pull out a social media crisis management plan at the drop of a hat? Your clients are most likely to be sweating because they don’t understand how to control or influence online messages. So, they’ll be looking for initial statements, media Q&As, spokesperson briefing documents and a tweet by tweet guide for the next week where possible. So, ensure you have templates and guides to hand to work from.
Don’t get me wrong – national coverage today is tomorrow’s chip paper, and online issues soon lose momentum. But, you still have to nip them in the bud.
The White House’s press office may have had to help clear the AP’s mess, but Barack’s not worried. He’s obviously ignoring the issue, having tweeted since the incident and not giving the hackers a single thought. So, for now, they’ve kept their heads.