Social media site Twitter has sent emails instructing thousands of registered users to change their passwords because there was a risk that accounts could be “compromised”. However, it has now emerged that these messages were sent in error.
Emails reached users on Monday, leaving them wondering whether or not the service had been hacked. The networking site would not divulge information indicating how many accounts were affected, but has apologised for the inconvenience its gaffe may have caused. Twitter users, especially high profile users such as celebrities, are regularly the target of hacking threats.
A number of online groups, such as the SEA (Syrian Electronic Army), pride themselves on being skilled enough to deceive social networkers into unintentionally relinquishing their username log-ins and passwords.
Notifications sent by the social network warned users that “your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter”. They continued to state that “we’ve reset your password to prevent accessing your account”.
Following these emails, concerned users even took to Twitter itself to find out more information about the alleged hack, with hundreds searching for ‘Twitter Hack’ on their newsfeeds, prompting the company to intervene hastily.
Despite the blame of this false alarm falling on a system error, many users who received the email – including individuals, brands and internet marketing specialists – will still need to change their passwords. This follows a genuine attack on Twitter last year that saw the login credentials of over 250,000 people stolen.