Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s account hacked on Friday afternoon by a group that names itself the Chuckle Squad. Some offensive tweets were up for about 10 minutes, though not long after the hack started, those tweets were now being deleted, and they’re all gone now.
One of the first tweets sent from his “compromised” account was the N-word. Another one, sent a few minutes later, adored Hitler. More than a dozen racist or otherwise offensive original tweets were sent during 20 minutes from the account.
Somebodies, after that Twitter co-founder account, hacked thought what could occur if President Donald Trump’s account were compromised in the same way. Some warned it could start to World War III or nuclear war with China and Russia
Among the tweets was a link to a message board on the chat service Discord. The users in the chat had spelled out “DONALD TRUMP” in emojis on one of the boards. Some of the users in the chat alleged they were trying to rifle through Dorsey’s private direct messages while they still had access to the account, but found the task too difficult to handle.
About an hour and a half after the hack, Twitter tweeted that “the account is now secure, and there is no indication that Twitter’s systems have been compromised.”
Next, Twitter pointed the blame at Dorsey’s cell carrier, stating that “the phone number associated with the account was compromised due to security oversight by the mobile provider,” which clearly let the hackers send the tweets using text messages.
The short takeover of Dorsey’s Twitter account is a warning of the dangers facing celebrities, public officials, and businesses that use Twitter. They are obvious targets for hackers and other troublemakers, but their accounts are often inadequately preserved and can be accessed by determined attackers.
Frequently, protecting social media against hacking has had global political implications, and security experts have worried for many years that world leaders’ accounts do not have sufficient protection. Trump’s Twitter account was briefly deactivated for 11 minutes in November 2017 by an employee on his last day of work.
Although Dorsey’s account was only compromised for a few minutes, it was long enough for the hackers to unleash a series of offensive tweets. The posts were immediately deleted from the account.
Hackers used a messaging service called CloudHopper, which Twitter acquired in 2010, to make posts under Dorsey’s name. CloudHopper allows Twitter users who connect their phone number to their account to tweet simply by sending a text message to Twitter.
Twitter confirmed in a statement that the account had been compromised because Dorsey’s mobile provider made “a security oversight” that allowed hackers to send tweets via text message from his phone number.
It was a big and catastrophic event for Twitter, which frightened its users.
The group that took over Dorsey’s account called itself Chuckling Squad and posted several hashtags promoting itself, as well as a link to a chat room on online chat service Discord. Tali Fischer, a Discord spokeswoman, said the chat room was removed minutes after it was reported.
Dorsey’s reasoning was not well received by Emily Horne, the former head of global policy reports for Twitter, who pushed back against the idea that communications were to charge.
“If I still worked for you, I’d have advised you to frame this as a sign that if current Twitter policies permit verified accounts to encourage followers to harass/harm people offline, then the policies aren’t working as intended & Twitter is looking hard at the way forward,” she tweeted.
Twitter is in the midst of an effort to promote “healthy conversation,” hiring outside researchers to study the platform and make recommendations on how to promote “openness and civility.”
In a post about its rules, Twitter said on Tuesday that it has recently updated a list of “abusive behaviors” that could get an account taken down, including making unwanted sexual advances, sharing private photos of someone or warning to endanger or hack another person.
The San Francisco Police Department said it was aware of the threat and had been in contact with Twitter.
The hackers also posted several messages from Dorsey’s account using racial slurs and praising Adolf Hitler. Twitter has frequently been criticized for not acting quickly to remove offensive and anti-Semitic content on its platform, though it removed the posts made to Dorsey’s account shortly after they were posted.
The incident Friday was not the first time that Dorsey has lost control of his Twitter account. In 2016, a group of hackers going by the name OurMine conducted a similar attack that allowed them to post from Dorsey’s account.
Among the tweets was a link to a message board on the chat service Discord. The users in the chat had spelled out “DONALD TRUMP” in emojis on one of the boards. Some of the users in the chat claimed they were attempting to rifle through Dorsey’s private direct messages while they still had access to the account, but found the task too hard to manage.
Dorsey’s messaging inbox is set to “open,” which allows any user on Twitter to message him. On the announcements page, where only moderators of the Discord can post, the last message asked users who they should hack next.
The server was taken down from Discord about 15 minutes after the first post before Twitter was able to take back control of Jack’s account.
Dorsey has more than 4.2 million followers.
“We’re aware that @Jack was compromised and investigating what happened,” the platform’s official communications handle tweeted minutes later.
Facebook and YouTube have said users who violate their policies repeatedly can be yanked from their platforms; Jones and Infowars had millions of subscribers on each.
Jones is known for perpetuating hoaxes, including falsely claiming the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 was staged by actors. Families of the victims have filed lawsuits against him for defamation.
On Twitter, he continued to tell his more than 858,000 followers that his ouster from other social media platforms remains a matter of free speech — and questioned if other conservative voices will be similarly targeted.
“It’s about whose speech and ideas are favored and whose are opposed,” his account tweeted early Wednesday.