Update: Capitol Police Unhappy with The Onion's Fake Attack Tweet

The Onion tweets turn out to just be a prelude to an unfunny fictional news brief

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Maybe it's just because we're so used to The Onion being a decent source for consistent humor that when they tweeted two oddly unfunny "BREAKING" news alerts this morning about gunfire in the Capitol Building, the first reaction was to think their Twitter account was hacked. It seems like other people did too after seeing the first tweet: "BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building." It was followed 15 minutes later with what was obviously a joke (though a not particularly funny one): "BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen. #CongressHostage."  The knee jerk reaction, of course, is that some dumb hacker group took over the feed in a similar manner to the really tasteless hacking of the NBC News account right around the time of September 11th. But it looks like it was just an attention-grabbing way to draw people to a full fictional news brief about armed members of Congress holding schoolchildren hostage in the Capitol Building. After all, what would be the point of trying to scare people by hacking into the account of a satirical news source?

Update: a few odd tweets from a satirical news source provoked a real reaction from U.S. Capitol police, reports Gawker, which published the full email statement made:

From: Schneider, Kimberly A.
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 11:01 AM
Subject: USCP Notice: False Reporting via Twitter

It has come to our attention that recents twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol.  Conditions at the U.S. Capitol are currently normal. There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds. The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting.

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