When World War 3 really does begin, will anyone actually believe the news? Probably not, with the way the internet is rife with stories of war and rumors of wars. Of course you can’t always believe what you read, particularly in this day and age when hackers break into social media accounts belonging to major media outlets and post whatever they want on them.
World War 3 tweets just a hoax
Tweets were sent from the New York Post’s and United Press International’s Twitter accounts today stating that World War 3 had begun. The posts claimed U.S. ships were in “active combat” with Chinese ships in the South China Sea.
Those tweets were quickly deleted, and shortly thereafter, the New York Post tweeted that its account had been hacked:
Our Twitter account was briefly hacked and we are investigating.
— New York Post (@nypost) January 16, 2015
Separating fiction from reality
Time managed to grab screen shots of the tweets before they disappeared. The one posted on the New York Post’s Twitter account read: “US Joint Chief of staff: USS George Washington damaged, US navy now engaged in active combat against Chinese vessels in South China sea.” The United Press International (UPI)’s Twitter account had the exact same thing posted by the apparent hackers.
The organization’s account also had a second post, however, which stated that Pope Francis had declared what “World War III has begun.” UPI’s account also had a third post stating, “Chinese anti-ship missile at USS George Washington.” According to the Military Times (via the Navy Times), a spokesperson for the U.S. Navy confirmed that the USS George Washington was actually in port and not fighting Chinese vessels in the South China Sea at the time the tweets were sent out.
Twitter users respond to World War 3 comments
Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t look like many Twitter users were fooled by the fake tweets. The one about the Pope declaring World War 3 had begun appears to be what tipped most people off. Also if China and the U.S. really were tangling at sea, then every media outlet around the globe would be tweeting about it.
Here are a few of the Twitter posts from those commenting on the fake World War 3 tweets:
How the hell does somebody hack top news stations accounts on Twitter and make tweets about there being a World War 3?!
— ?????????? ?? (@BlameRandy) January 16, 2015
Little known fact; it’s actually the Pope’s duty to announce the commencement of World War 3, check the job description.
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) January 16, 2015
Lol! Pope declares World War 3. Well, whoever hacked @UPI has a crude sense of humor.
— Abdullah Saad (@kursed) January 16, 2015
Either someone is having fun with the @UPI Twitter account or World War 3 and a banking crash are looming. Or both.
— Vince in the Bay (@VinceintheBay) January 16, 2015