Minister says his Twitter account was hacked
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has said his Twitter account was hacked after it was used to post a series of offensive messages about ethnicity, sexuality and gender identity.
According to Heaton-Harris, someone temporarily gained access to his account and posted some “deeply unpleasant things”.
The minister subsequently regained control of his account and removed the posts.
His team said they were working with the social media platform to fix the issue.
“Why Are Black People So Poor?” read one of the posts on Heaton-Harris’ account.
Another suggested lawmakers planned to pass a new law that would see “all transgender and homosexuals serve 10 years behind bars.”
The Conservative MP for Daventry said he “can only apologise” for the incident.
The incident comes after Gillian Keegan, the Cabinet Education Secretary, also had her Twitter account hacked over the holidays.
During that time, her account was used to send a series of tweets to promote cryptocurrencies.
Twitter Blue is still open to fake accounts
These incidents come at a time when many people, including politicians, are concerned about Twitter’s new Blue subscription feature, which allows anyone to buy a verified account for $7.99.
CEO Elon Musk suspended the service due to mass impersonations, but relaunched it last month, claiming it was updated with better security measures.
When Musk took over Twitter in October, he planned to change the verification procedure that gave verified ticks to celebrities, government leaders, established news sites and journalists. Instead, he preferred to allow customers to purchase verification through Twitter Blue.
The change created confusion among users and was immediately jumped on by pranksters and misinformation peddlers. In November, several fake accounts purporting to be insulin maker Eli Lilly made false claims that led to a steep drop in the drug company’s stock price.
The platform restarted the service last month and claimed to have fixed the bugs that caused chaotic episodes on the platform.
But Thursday d. Washington Post said columnist Geoffrey Fowler he was once again able to fool Twitterand creating a fake verified account for Democratic Senator Ed Markey.
Fowler said that even with Twitter’s updated and improved authentication mechanism, his experiment showed how easy it is to fool the platform and its users. Senator Markey gave him permission to use his name for the fake account.
After changing the username of an outdated, inactive account belonging to one of his colleagues, Fowler created an account with the username @SenatorEdMarkey. He linked the fake account to a temporary cell phone number he bought from T-Mobile for $15.
Twitter has since suspended the account.
“Elon Musk said he would fix Twitter’s problem with imposters. The blue tick on my fake US senator suggests he still has a long way to go,” Fowler wrote in his report.
This is the second time that Fowler was able to trick Twitter into impersonating the senator.
The senator expressed his displeasure, calling Musk’s management of the verification mechanism an “absolute joke.”
“It’s an absolute joke that Elon Musk, who prides himself on being a tech entrepreneur, can’t implement a working verification regime — except the users aren’t laughing,” Markey said.
“Twitter’s current leadership has failed to protect the platform from misinformation, failed to answer my simple questions regarding their anti-fraud protocols, and failed to demonstrate an appreciation for the role their platform plays in our democracy,” he added.