Twitter CEO’s account hacked, offensive tweets posted

Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey interacting with students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi on November 12, 2018. (AFP file photo)
Updated 31 August 2019

Twitter CEO’s account hacked, offensive tweets posted

  • The messages contained racial epithets, and included a retweet of a message supporting Nazi Germany
  • Twitter blames the mobile phone provider associated with Dorsey's phone number for the "security oversight"

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter said Friday the account of chief executive Jack Dorsey had been “compromised” after a series of erratic and offensive messages were posted.
The tweets containing racial slurs and suggestions about a bomb showed up around 2000 GMT on the @jack account of the founder of the short messaging service before being deleted.
Some of the tweets contained the hashtag #ChucklingSquad, which was believed to indicate the identity of the hacker group. The same calling card was left behind during recent hacks of other high-profile social media personalities.
The messages contained racial epithets, and included a retweet of a message supporting Nazi Germany.
Twitter said that the phone number associated with Dorsey’s account was “compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider,” allowing a hacker to posts tweets to @jack by sending text messages.
Dorsey’s account has been secured and there was “no indication that Twitter’s systems have been compromised,” according to the San Francisco-based Internet firm.
It appeared that tweets posted on Dorsey’s account by the hacker were up for about a half-hour before they were removed.
Pinned atop Dorsey’s account was a tweet from early last year saying: “We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly accountable toward progress.”
A barrage of comments fired off on the platform questioned why the Twitter co-founder didn’t secure his account better, and how disturbing a sign it was that the service couldn’t keep its own chief safe on the platform.
“If you can’t protect Jack, you can’t protect... jack,” one Twitter user quipped.

“It’s fundamentally an act of petty vandalism; the equivalent of spray painting a billboard above Twitter HQ.”

E. David Edelman, director at MIT

The news comes with Dorsey and Twitter moving aggressively to clean up offensive and inappropriate content as part of a focus on “safety.”
“This might be the only way to get rid of racist tweets on this platform,” a Twitter user commented.

Two-factor authentication
British-based security consultant Graham Cluley said the incident highlighted the importance of two-factor authentication, where a user must confirm the account via an external service.
Cluley advised people to make sure they use two-factor authentication and check which applications are linked to their accounts.
“While it looks bad, it’s important to remember this is not some state-grade hack,” said R. David Edelman, director of technology, economy, and national security project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“It’s fundamentally an act of petty vandalism; the equivalent of spray painting a billboard above Twitter HQ.”
Cybersecurity researcher Kevin Beaumont said the account appeared to have been hijacked “via a third party called Cloudhopper, which Twitter acquired about 10 years ago and had access to his account.”
Cloudhopper enables users to send tweets on their phones via SMS.
“While it’s tempting to laugh at the irony of it, the real-world consequences don’t make it funny,” University of Hartford communications professor Adam Chiara said of Dorsey’s account being hacked.
“Twitter can tell us that they are becoming more diligent with our privacy and security, but actions speak louder than words.”
The incident raised fresh concerns about how social media users — even prominent ones — can have their accounts compromised and used for misinformation, a point highlighted by Canadian member of parliament Michelle Rempel Garner.
“Between bots, trolls and abuse, I’ve been skeptical about @Twitter as a viable platform for some time now,” Rempel Garner wrote.
“But the fact it took the platform’s owner (@jack) about 30 min to get his hacked account under control is deeply problematic, and makes me worry as an elected official.”


Al Jazeera continues to ‘provide a platform to bigoted and violent extremists’

Updated 26 May 2020

Al Jazeera continues to ‘provide a platform to bigoted and violent extremists’

  • Qatar-based media network has a turbulent past when it comes to extremist and anti-Semitic rhetoric

LONDON: Al Jazeera’s recent interview with terrorist-designated group Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh, as well as its podcast glorifying killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, has stirred the ongoing debate surrounding the network’s alleged promotion of terrorism.

The exposure given to the controversial figures has prompted experts into stating that the station and news site continue to provide extremists with a platform to present themselves on.

“The fact that Qatar’s Al Jazeera Arabic continues to provide a platform to bigoted and violent extremists, including terrorists, obviously undermines the Qatari government’s claim to be a steady force for tolerance and coexistence,” Washington director for international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, David Weinberg, told Arab News.

The station’s interview with Haniyeh served as a stage to threaten Israel with the fact that Hamas was still capable of kidnapping more Israeli soldiers, while the podcast allowed the Soleimani character a free rein to explain his support of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and why he helped Syrian President Bashar Assad massacre his own people.

These were not the only controversies the network found itself embroiled in this month.

Last week, Al Jazeera’s Arabic news site carried a headline reading, “Martyr shot by Occupation forces in the West Bank for being accused of trying to run over soldiers,” to report on a Palestinian man who was shot while attempting to ram into Israeli soldiers with his car.

“Every time Al Jazeera calls somebody — anybody — a martyr, it violates the journalistic ethic of impartiality. What makes it much, much worse is that Al Jazeera consistently uses the term martyr to glorify terrorists, provided the civilians those violent extremists are trying to murder happen to be Israeli Jews,” Weinberg said.

“Encouraging slaughter of this sort does nobody any favors, not Palestinians or Israelis, neither Jews nor Arabs.”

“Al-Qaeda in Syria? Flattered by Al Jazeera. The Taliban? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Iranian proxies like Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Al-Qaeda financier Muthanna Al-Dhari? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Media practices like these are unacceptable, immoral, and bad for people of all faiths and all nations,” he added.

Al Jazeera has a turbulent past when it comes to extremist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Last year, its youth channel AJ+ Arabic drew widespread condemnation over an alleged Holocaust denial video that claimed Jews exaggerated the scale of the genocide in order to establish Israel.

The chairman of UK nonprofit organization Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, Ghanem Nuseibeh, told Arab News: “Al Jazeera has a direct editorial input from the Diwan in Doha (the sovereign body and administrative office of the Emir of Qatar), with the Arabic channel focused on promoting the extremist ideological discourse. This is their core constituency.

“It is particularly troubling that Al Jazeera Arabic website still to this day continues to host articles and videos of interviews by proscribed groups in the UK such as Al-MuHajjiroun, and freely accessible in the UK,” he added.

Earlier this month, a Shariah expert from the Qatari Ministry of Religious Endowments advocated the beating of women in an interview on the network, stating that they “need to be subdued by muscles.” And this was not the first time.

The station has also broadcasted a religious program hosted by extremist cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader. Al-Qaradawi, an outspoken Hamas loyalist who was featured in Arab News’ “Preachers of Hate” series, issues fatwas riddled with comments advocating suicide bomb attacks and praises to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler for “punishing the Jews,” on Al Jazeera’s media platforms.

“Al Jazeera’s motto is, ‘the opinion and the other opinion,’ but when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood’s bigots and violent extremists, Al Jazeera Arabic still just presents one opinion, giving ikhwani (brotherhood) intolerance an unquestioning platform for broadcasting into millions of homes around the world,” Weinberg said.

The media network has also been called a “useful tool” for Qatar’s ruling elite notorious for their sympathies with the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist and extremist groups. In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in order to pressure it to halt its alleged terrorism financing and shut down the network.

US Embassy cables acquired by UK newspaper The Guardian in 2009 proved just how interconnected the Qatari government and Al Jazeera are.

“Al Jazeera, the most watched satellite television station in the Middle East, is heavily subsidized by the Qatari government and has proved itself a useful tool for the station’s political masters … Despite (the government of Qatar’s) protestations to the contrary, Al Jazeera remains one of Qatar’s most valuable political and diplomatic tools,” the cable read.

Al Jazeera tangoes with terrorism

Favoring Daesh

• Do you support the Daesh group’s victories in Iraq and Syria?

• More than 54,000 people voted on the official page of ‘Opposite Direction.’ 81.6 percent voted ‘Yes,’ while 18.4 percent voted ‘No.’

Sectarian discourse 

• Al-Qassim said: ‘Why do you blame the regime? I want to ask you. Al-Nubl and Al-Zahraa are Shiite colonies in the heart of Sunni land. Kafarayah and Fu’aa are still living among you. Why don’t you expel them out as they did to you and curse the ones who gave birth to them?’

Party for a terrorist 

• Al Jazeera host: ‘Brother Samir, we would like to celebrate your birthday with you. You deserve even more than this. I think that 11,000 prisoners – if they can see this program now – are celebrating your birthday with you. Happy birthday, brother Samir.’

Al-Julani interview

• Interviewer: ‘What was the strategy of Al-Qaeda’s Sheikh Osama bin Laden?’

• Al-Julani: ‘He wanted to fight the Americans on their own turf, and that way to drag them into Afghanistan – because we were unable to send armies to (the United States). Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s goal in fighting the Americans was not to put an end to the American presence…’

Boosting terrorism

• ’We call upon the Islamic nation to rise up, and not make do with a futile economic boycott, in the face of this affront to our honorable Prophet. We call upon them to drive out the Danish embassies and ambassadors from the lands of the Muslims, and to expel them from the Muslim countries. They should take serious and immediate action to burn down the offices of the newspapers that affronted our Prophet, and to bomb them, so that body parts go flying, and with these body parts, Allah Almighty will quench the believers’ thirst for revenge.’