As our eagle-eyed friends at The Commentator noticed yesterday, the BBC Twitter account running under the banner “never get caught out by the weather” was itself caught out when it was hacked by a pro-Assad group calling itself ‘The Syrian Electronic Army’.
The BBC News website later ran an article on the subject on its technology page in which it was revealed that other BBC Twitter accounts were also hacked. The BBC reported:
“A series of tweets about fake weather conditions in Middle Eastern countries began appearing on Thursday afternoon.”
“Alongside the standard tweets from the weather feed such as “‘last night was chilly” some more bizarre comments began emerging.
They included: “Saudi weather station down due to head-on collision with camel.”
Another read: “Chaotic weather forecast for Lebanon as the government decides to distance itself from the Milky Way.” “
The article also quotes an internet security consultant as stating:
“The good news is that the hack doesn’t appear to have been done with the intention of spreading malicious links or scams. Instead, it appears that the Syrian Electronic Army are trying to spread political messages about Syria instead.”
In actual fact, some of the Tweets were considerably less benign than the BBC tries to make out in this article, with one making a Helen Thomas-style suggestion that residents of Haifa should “return to Poland” and another portraying a nuclear attack on Tel Aviv.
Why would the BBC apparently find it necessary to tone down the hackers’ attitudes by ignoring those two offensive Tweets in its report on the incident?