A hacked, fake tweet from the Associated Press sent markets briefly sliding Tuesday before the world's oldest and largest news agency confirmed it was bogus.
The AP had two accounts, @AP and @AP_Mobile, shut down after the tweet, which falsely claimed that there had been two explosions at the White House and that President Obama was injured. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 145 points between 1:08 p.m. EDT and 1:10 p.m. after the tweet, the Wall Street Journal reported. But it has since bounced back, well into positive territory.
The AP quickly posted a story on its website saying its main Twitter account and the AP Mobile Twitter account were attacked after phishing attempts on AP's corporate network.
The news agency also used its other Twitter accounts to spread the word of the deception.
"All, AP's mobile Twitter account has been hacked. Please do not respond to news posted by @AP_Mobile. The account will be suspended soon," @AP_Politics tweeted.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a press briefing that the president was fine, the AP reported.
"I was just with him," Carney said.
The attack highlighted the volatility of markets, the vulnerability of news agencies, and the speed with which even a total falsehood, with the help of social media, could take a striking toll. But it also showed how quickly social media could stop an internet falsehood in its tracks.
The hacking came six days after AP, CNN and other news organizations suffered a blow to their credibility when they inaccurately reported an arrest or imminent arrest in the Boston bombings. Authorities denied the reports, forcing news agencies to backtrack. In fact, no suspects were identified until Thursday.
The hackers took advantage of nerves that remain raw so soon after last week's bombings, which involved two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
(Disclosure: The writer of this post is a former AP employee.)