Hackers hit Twitter accounts of President-elect Barack Obama, Britney Spears

The Twitter accounts of President-elect Barack Obama, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, Britney Spears, Fox News and 29 others were hacked Monday, the microblog site reported, leading to false and inappropriate messages being posted on their accounts. First, Fox News Twitter followers read a false message about Bill O'Reilly's sexuality Monday morning after hackers launched several attacks. Then came the attack on pop princess Britney Spears' private parts. CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, who uses Twitter on his TV show to interact with the audience, also fell victim to the scam, when a hacker posted about drugs on his account. Twitter is a social-networking blog site that allows users to send status updates, or "tweets," from cell phones, instant messaging services and Facebook in fewer than 140 characters. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote on the site's blog that the accounts were compromised after a hacker accessed tools the support team uses when a Twitter user can't remember or wants to reset their login info. "We considered this a very serious breach of security and immediately took the support tools offline," Stone said in the blog post. "We'll put them back only when they're safe and secure." Jennifer Dargan, CNN's director of public relations, confirmed Sanchez's account was compromised. "As a result, some Twitter users may have received offensive messages attributed to Rick when the breach occurred," she said. "This is annoying, though such breaches are not uncommon when using social networking sites." "Rick has notified Twitter of his account's breach and taken some basic steps to secure his account's access. Rick enjoys communicating with viewers via Twitter and he and many others at CNN find social networking a valuable tool in their shows. Rick will continue to use Twitter -- along with MySpace and Facebook -- to engage CNN's audience." The attacks came after Twitter suffered a vicious phishing scam over the weekend, during which everyday Continue Reading

University of Tennessee Twitter account removes tweet about Randy Boyd

A Twitter account associated with the University of Tennessee removed at least two tweets that could have been seen as an endorsement for Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd on Wednesday after a reporter asked about the tweets.The account, @TNAlumnus, the university’s official alumni magazine account, wished Boyd, a 1979 UT graduate, a happy birthday and included the campaign’s hashtag, #runwithrandy. ► More: Jeb Bush set to headline fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd “#Happybirthday @randyboyd! Are you celebrating with a 7-mile run? #runwithrandy,” read the tweet.It also retweeted a post from Boyd’s campaign account that wished him a happy birthday.The rest of the account’s feed reads like any other alumni page would — stories about notable alum and photos of UT greats like Phillip Fulmer and Peyton Manning and notable alumni like Dave Ramsey. But none of them are running for governor.UT spokesperson Gina Stafford said the university has reminded staff of the need to not promote candidates. All about appearance“It is normal for the Alumnus account to wish prominent alumni happy birthday. Upon reviewing the tweet wishing Mr. Boyd happy birthday, however, we have realized inclusion of the hashtag got too close to referencing his candidate status and have deleted it, as well as the retweet of the Boyd account post,” Stafford said in an emailed statement.“We’ve reminded staff of the need to avoid the appearance of promoting or opposing any political candidate and are reviewing our content calendar to remove items pertaining to candidates for political office,” she said. ► More: Lee, Boyd oppose in-state tuition for undocumented students Boyd has pointed out on the campaign trail that the state hasn’t had a UT graduate for governor in 44 years. Democrat Craig Fitzhugh is the only other UT graduate running for governor.Boyd has Continue Reading

KFC has an epic Twitter account that you should follow right now

KFC's marketing is so extra. We all know about the crazy, even bizarre, commercials. But what's even better is the company's Twitter account. Some things we noticed: 1. The account only follows 11 people: Five Spice Girls and six guys named Herb. Eleven herbs and spices. That's genius. (h/t to Twitter user @edgette22 for the discovery)2. The profile pic is actor Ray Liotta somehow making Colonel Sanders look sexy.Think about that: an Oscar-nominated actor from the second-most-famous mobster movie of all time is your chicken spokesman, dressed in a white suit with a Southern accent. You may like: Fly-thru: KFC sandwich gets launched into space Read this: Time for a conversation about KFC's new line of merchandise 3. They take a theme and beat it to death. Right now it's "Georgia Gold" vs. "Nashville Hot." GIFs, graphics, videos, photos and just a general collection of bizarre things created especially for the company's social accounts. That's dedication! 4. USA TODAY uncovered 11 reasons why you should follow the account. The collection of Twitter responses shows just how much appreciation there is for the brand's unique style of humor.   Continue Reading

It looked like Donald Trump’s Twitter account was deleted. Then it wasn’t.

It was almost like a magic trick. First you see it, now you don't. And then the president's personal Twitter account reappeared. For about 11 minutes — plenty of time for a Twitter field day — Trump's account appeared to be disabled. Users received a message that his account couldn't be found or the page simply didn't exist.Several on Twitter speculated that Twitter had disabled his account or that White House staffers had shut down his Twitter.One person even assumed, despite the existence of an official POTUS account, that Mike Pence's account was the nation's new commander in chief. In the end, it didn't matter, because Trump returned. All 41.7 million followers and his more than 36,000 tweets reappeared.The Twitter Government account tweeted an explanation around 8 p.m., saying it was an inadvertent act of human error by a Twitter employee.  Nate Chute is a producer at IndyStar. Follow him on Twitter (assuming his account is still active) at @nchute.  Continue Reading

Whoever turned off Trump’s Twitter account will probably get off scot free

SAN FRANCISCO — How much trouble can you get into for turning off the President's Twitter account?Probably not much, say experts.President Trump's Twitter account was deactivated for 11 minutes on Thursday "due to human error by a Twitter employee," according to the social media company. The outage sparked a flurry of tweets while the account was down and once it was restored.Very little is known about the person who did it, beyond that it was his or her last day of work. There have been reports that it might have been a contract worker rather than a full-time staffer at the San Francisco company.There’s not a lot President Trump could do legally to the person, because they weren't on the president's computer system, said Chris Calabrese, vice president for policy at the non-profit Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington D.C. More: Who disabled Trump’s personal account? A Twitter employee on their last day Trump would also have a hard time making a case against Twitter because, under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, if a company makes a good faith effort to moderate the content on its site, it’s immune from liability.“Twitter jumped in in just 11 minutes and restored the account, so it’s a pretty strong indication that it was acting in good faith,” said Calabrese.It would have to be a U.S. Attorney who would make a decision about whether to prosecute, possibly after doing fact gathering before a grand jury, said Kurt Opsahl, general counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based digital rights group.Whether a U.S. Attorney even could bring charges against the person who disabled the account depends in part on what Twitter had hired the person to do, said Opsahl.Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, there would be a distinction between an employee who is authorized to remove accounts and one who had an entirely different job at Continue Reading

Yankees official Twitter account ignores Alex Rodriguez’s spring training home run, fans up in arms

TAMPA - Oops! Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of the spring but the people who run the Yankees' Twitter account failed to note the milestone. While the social media site buzzed about A-Rod following his first home run of the spring Wednesday afternoon, the team's official account (@Yankees) made no mention of the blast. Seven different tweets were sent out during the game from the Yankees account, though Rodriguez wasn't mentioned in any of them. After the game, the team tweeted: No mention about A-Rod’s homer. In fact, a look back at the Yankees' account shows that aside from his name being mentioned in the starting lineup, A-Rod hasn't been cited in any tweet all spring, even when he had a hit in his first at-bat since 2013. Are the Yankees trying to pretend A-Rod isn't part of the team? That doesn’t appear to be the case. As it turns out, the Yankees don’t even control the account. “It was very much an unintended error,” a team spokesman said. “Alex is and will be treated like every other Yankees player.” According to a source, there was no directive from the team to omit A-Rod from the Twitter account, which is run by MLB Advanced Media, the league's digital arm. Unlike many clubs, the Yankees do not have in-house employees running their social media accounts. Pat Courtney, MLB spokesman, told the News Wednesday,”(MLB commissioner) Rob (Manfred) has made it clear from his perspective that A-Rod should be treated like any other player.” The source said the issue was being addressed and would be rectified going forward. Here's what some fans had to say: Continue Reading

Mets and Yankees Twitter accounts bicker during Subway Series

The Bronx wasn’t the only place where the Yankees and Mets were battling Sunday night. There was a nice little tiff taking place on Twitter as well. When the Yankees scored a run in the bottom of the fifth, the Mets official twitter account said, “NY (AL) grabs a run in the fifth. We trail 6-4.” Well, that NY (AL) thing didn’t sit to well with the Bombers, who tweeted out, “@Mets Yankees. We are the YANKEES. The Mets didn’t let it go, through, replying, “@Yankees thanks for the update. We like to be associated with the great city of New York but if you don’t like to that’s cool.” RELATED: YANKEES TAKE SUBWAY SERIES FROM METS The Yankees official account got the last laugh, however, posting a shot of the Empire State Building lit up in Yankees navy and white and this: "This #SubwaySeries belongs to the #Yankees, so do bragging rights. #PinstripePride" The two teams meet again at Citi Field in September. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Trevor Noah’s Twitter account was not vetted prior to ‘The Daily Show’ selection, Viacom exec reveals

Future “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah has more than 2 million Twitter followers — but there was a time when his new employer was not one of them. The comedian’s Twitter account was not screened prior to his selection as host, Viacom executive Doug Herzog has admitted. “We did not vet his Twitter feed before we hired him,” Herzog revealed during a Tuesday conference hosted by TV marketing organization PromaxBDA, with his remarks at the event published on the organization’s website. The oversight meant that Viacom was unprepared for the backlash against the 31-year-old South African comic when he was announced as Jon Stewart’s successor in March. Noah's Twitter jokes were criticized as being offensive to various groups, including Jewish people and women. 25 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TREVOR NOAH, NEW 'DAILY SHOW' HOST Herzog, who oversees the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, which includes Comedy Central, said that after the backlash occurred, the lack of vetting “was the first thing my boss asked as well.” The exec added that even if the social media account had been vetted, “I don’t know what we would have done differently. “What I really learned is that it didn’t matter who was going to replace Jon Stewart. We underestimated what the public reaction would be to anyone who was going to be sitting in that seat.” As for the qualifications needed to host the popular comedy show, Herzog said it “demands somebody who is fun, insightful, smart, understands world events and the news and can speak in millennials’ very distinctive voice. Not everyone can bring all that together. “Ultimately, we think this is the right guy for the job,” he added. “The list was very short.” Stewart’s final episode of “The Daily Show” will air Aug. 6, with Noah taking over Continue Reading

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning confronts Twitter account naysayers in prison letter

Chelsea Manning says it’s really her behind the Twitter account that has the provided fodder for great debate in recent weeks. “The tweets, except for retweets, are verbatim dictated over the phone to someone that I can call from here in Kansas,” Manning wrote in a handwritten letter from Fort Leavenworth dated April 4, in which she promised to dispel the myths that have surrounded the @xychelsea Twitter account. The government whistleblower has been using the account to describe how she passes the time while serving a 35-year sentence in the federal prison for leaking a trove of classified documents. In between reading, sleeping and a prison job, the 27-year-old former soldier even shared a playlist of her favorite songs by Icona Pop, Muse and Dido. “P.S. It’s really me,” Manning wrote in the note, dotting the “i” in her last name with a heart and adding a smiley face. The note, written on Manning’s personal letterhead, arrived late last week in Trevor Fitzgibbon’s mailbox, the Washington, D.C.-based consultant told the Daily News in a phone interview. The same message appeared on her account Thursday. Manning’s letter postmarked on April 9 from Kansas City, according to photos obtained by The News. Fitzgibbon, whose firm worked with Manning before her incarceration, is one of two people with the keys to the Twitter account. Manning has repeatedly called the tweeting by proxy a “temporary arrangement” until she can find a better way to access the account she apparently created in 2013, before she was convicted later that year. That may prove difficult, since Manning does not have computer privileges in jail. The former private first class came out as a transgender woman shortly after being found guilty of violating the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud Continue Reading

Zayn Malik causes social media uproar after deleting all One Direction references from Twitter account

Zayn Malik has a made small change to his Twitter account — but it’s caused a huge ripple among One Direction fans. The 22-year-old singer changed his Twitter handle from @ZaynMalik1D to simply @ZaynMalik, making his departure from the group official. Besides changing his handle, he also deleted a link to One Direction's website as well as his bio, which had said, “Just close your eyes and enjoy the roller coaster that is life.” But many One Directioners aren’t enjoying the roller coaster that has been Malik’s exit from the band, and expressed their devastation on social media with the hashtag, “#YouWillAlwaysBeZaynMalik1D.” Fans have also been retweeting a screenshot of a Twitter conversation between a fan and Malik, in which the fan sent him a direct message asking him why he changed his name. “Because 1D is not in my name, it’s in my heart,” Malik responded. For those still grieving Malik’s exit from the band, Stephen Hawking offered some hope to fans everywhere when answering a question about the “cosmological effect” of a Zayn-less One Direction. “My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics,” he said. “Because one day there may well be proof of multiple universes. “It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe," he continued. “And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction.” Continue Reading