12 Nov 2012

China Takes Blame for Twitter Blooper


Chinese state-sponsored hackers were thought to be behind an attempt to break into Twitter accounts.

The suspicion arose when numerous Twitter users had yesterday their passwords suddenly reset after receiving an official message reading “Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter.”

This notification triggered hysteria and almost instantly the blame fell on Chinese authorities when some key influencer Tweeters saw in this a possible Chinese foul play.

According to theregister.co.uk, the Communist Party was celebrating its 18th National Congress, an event that will be used by the Party to make public its leaders for the next 10 years. This fueled some of the local reactions, including the instant twit of Tsinghua University professor Patrick Chovanec who wrote “Wow, my Twitter account just got hacked. Party Congresses are such fun.” He was not the only one as the same type of message was sent that night by other members of the Chinese academia.

These censorship suspicions are not without reason, since it is common practice for the Chinese authorities to be extremely careful with the Internet content that reaches its people. It should be in sync with the social image approved by the government.

Recently, big publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have reported outages of major Western websites, service disruptions or content blockages that attempt to keep Chinese people shielded from information or services the local system did not approve.