After a couple of high-profile corporate hacks last week, a much nastier Twitter sabotage took place today on behalf of supporters of Syria's Bashar Al-Assad. Around noon Eastern time, the photographs-only account of news service Agence France-Presse began tweeting images from the conflict in Syria. Except they were not only far below the quality levels of professional photographers, they were graphic images from the war, which the captions depicted as the handiwork of thuggish rebel armies, backed by Western conspirators. Calling the rebels "#Obama backed" (hashtags are important) and accusing them both killing children and using them as soliders, whoever was behind the hack has a pretty obvious bias.
The @AFPphoto account is an odd choice for a hack, since the account has only been around for a few weeks and has just about 3,600 followers. (Perhaps that made it an easier target?) Yet, rather than posting rap videos or inappropriate jokes about hamburgers, this one decided to go with bloodly pro-Syria propaganda. Not the usual route for most Twitter hackers, and also one that's unlikely to win over a lot of people.
The main @AFP account tried to undo some of the damage, but to no avail. The account was finally suspended after about an hour of malicious tweets.
It appears our @afpphoto Twitter account has been hacked. Recent photos posted are NOT ours. Unable to delete but working on it— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) February 26, 2013
We saved most of the hacked tweets below (Warning a couple of the photos are graphic):
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.