#deletethetweets, recap and unanswered questions about @foxnewspolitics
a few days ago i went on a twitter rant* to get twitter or fox news to delete a series of tweets from the hacked @foxnewspolitics account that falsely stated that obama had been assassinated. what bothered me was not the hack, or even the content posted, but rather the amount of TIME that the hacked tweets stayed online IN COMBINATION with the content of the tweets. It was over 10 hours, during which time LOTS of people were retweeting the foxnewspolitics tweets. what i want to know, is, quite simply, what took so long? i’d love to believe that it was a holiday (july 4th), so maybe people were more chilled out. loving on america. but fox news had a statement posted in the morning** about the hack. yet the tweets stayed active for hours and hours after that. why? the only explanation i can think of is to gather information from the metadata. though can’t this information be scraped quickly? does it take 10 HOURS to do that? the more cynical side of me wonders if fox news LEFT them online for as long as they could.
but to back up a bit. i started the hashtag #deletethetweets at 11:13 eastern time, july 4, with the goal of getting the tweets deleted. NOT because i hate freedom of speech, but because it was a hacked account that was spreading essentially cultural malware. spam akin to yelling fire in a crowded theatre. a few people claimed i was stepping on freedom of speech. however i disagree with that assessment, and the analogy i gave to one user related it to credit card fraud: “Should a credit card company have the right to reverse fraudulent purchases? To me, same thing.”
ok, so #deletethetweets was rolling, and a small handful of people were talking about it. not a ton, but enough to convince me i wasn’t talking to the mirror. and certainly more than i expected on a holiday. then at around 11:54 am the hacked tweets on the foxnewspolitics account were removed.
who knows if the hashtag had ANYTHING to do with them coming down. i was glad to see them gone, but the one question that i haven’t gotten an answer to from anybody, is what took so long. later that day i wondered if the hacked account had said that sarah palin was dead, would the tweets have stayed there as long. that night i got a brief response from @brianstetler (who co-wrote the times article) saying that neither fox nor twitter had explained what took so long. i believe WE, the public, deserve to know.
lastly, it’s gets a little weirder. i’ve now received three of the same tweets from three different people. the first one makes sense, but the other two are just…weird. it’s like they’re ghosts. though i am writing this at 3:30am on 4 hours sleep so who knows…
in any event, i’m not sure what to make of all this. but if you’re feeling inspired, send @twitter or @foxnews a message. see if you can get an answer.
now back to our regularly scheduled program…
*note: for some reason twitter is not indexing all of the tweets tagged #deletethetweets. that is beginning to frustrate me. there were a lot more. i might have to pony up for a twapper keeper account after all…
**note: the message on the fox news site (here) was updated AFTER the tweets were deleted. the tech crunch article was published before then.