Hackers apparently took over a Fox News Twitter account early on July 4 and sent out tweets that claimed President Obama had been fatally shot while campaigning in Iowa, reports The New York Times.
Six messages were removed around noon Monday, with the tweets remaining up for 10 hours, the story notes. The gravity of the messages spurred senior Secret Service officials to convene a conference call on the morning of July 4 to discuss the tweets, the story says. The Secret Service said it is investigating the incident.
FoxNews.com issued a statement saying the reports were incorrect and that it regretted "any distress the false tweets may have created," the article notes.
Twitter, meanwhile, said its servers hadn’t been hacked, but it appeared that the email account associated with @foxnewspolitics had been compromised, allowing the hackers or hacker to access the feed, the piece adds. Fox News didn’t respond to requests for additional comment, the story says.
The FoxNews.com Twitter account, which has about 36,000 followers, send out a tweet at 2 a.m. on Monday saying, "just regained full access to our Twitter and email. Happy 4th.” That was followed with a tweet that said that the president “has just passed. The President is dead. A sad 4th of July indeed.”
The next message said Obama had been "“shot twice in the lower pelvic area and in the neck; shooter unknown,” and included the unsettling detail that he “bled out," the story says. Another message said that Obama had been shot at a Ross’s restaurant in Iowa, and the last tweet wished Joe Biden "the best of luck as our new President of the United States. In such a time of madness, there’s light at the end of tunnel.”
The false tweets "seemed even more provocative because Fox News is widely perceived to be a voice of opposition to the Obama administration," the story says.
A Twitter representative wouldn’t address why the false tweets stayed up so long nor address who was responsible, the piece adds.