What’s the cost of someone hacking your Twitter account? For the Associated Press, it could have meant the downfall of the U.S. economy.
If you were on Twitter in the early afternoon Tuesday, chances are you saw this bogus tweet from the Associated Press at 1:07 p.m.:
@AP: Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured
For a couple of minutes, panic set in. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, along with several other indexes, plummeted immediately, going down at least 30 points before making a rebound at 1:10 p.m. Users on Twitter were also momentarily confused and frightened before an AP spokesman stepped in and called the tweet false.
The price of being hacked
As of 3 p.m., the AP Twitter account is still suspended and everyone can rest assured that the White House isn’t under attack.
This should illustrate not just the power of Twitter’s influence, but just how bad things can go when an account is compromised.
Now, that’s not to say that every single Twitter hack will result in waves being made in the stock market, but waves could still be made among your company’s followers.
For example, say your company, Vandelay Industries, has a Twitter account that gets hacked. The hacker says something profane or something damaging to the business like, “Vandelay Industries is going bankrupt. Press release to come shortly.” It’s an easy message to refute and your followers may immediately be skeptical.
But think about the time spent on refuting the statement, getting the message of what really happened to your company’s Twitter account across to the appropriate outlets and all the necessary damage control that would be required.
Secure your social media in times of crisis
If you’re in the middle of a social media emergency, have your social media/marketing employees do the following:
- Contact Twitter to have them suspend your account
- Ensure no other channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.) have been compromised
- Change all social media passwords
- Once restored, immediately delete the hacked Tweets, and
- Send a message to your followers explaining the incident and apologize.
As for prevention, remember two keys:
- diverse passwords, and
- strategic access.
Keep passwords fresh every 30-60 days and make sure the only employees with access are those who work directly with social media.
Follow Rich Coleman @CFOWriterRich to keep up with CFO Daily News updates.