Friday afternoon, 12.44pm. PT, the internet stood still and watched something frightening take place over the next 20 minutes.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, got his account hacked, and it continued to tweet a range of abusive and racist tweets.
The tweets themselves were sophomoric and had no real consequence. And the fact that Dorsey's real musing was interrupted Friday afternoon before the long Labor Day weekend wasn't in the big scheme of things either.
The alarming thing was that the hijackers managed to take control of the Twitter group's account. Not because anyone cares about Jack Dorsey, per se. But because of what that means.
Just about all journalists and social media junkies on Twitter Friday afternoon had the same nervous thought at the same moment: If Twitter can't keep its own CEO's account safe from hackers, then how can President Donald Trump's account not being hacked?
It doesn't take much imagination to think of the kind of chaos that can be unleashed if Trump's account, which has 63.7 million followers, suddenly tweeted statements about security threats, outbreaks, emergency laws or even war.
Trump's Twitter is already & # 39; like a rocket & # 39;
Because Trump already uses Twitter in unique ways to carry out diplomacy and politics, and tweets shocking things almost every day, tweets from a hacker that masked because Trump may not be immediately fired. so fake (as Dorsey quickly was). And because Trump is the leader of the free world, his tweets carry a tremendous amount of weight and immediacy.
"Like a rocket," Trump said himself in July, describing the impact of one of his previous tweets accusing President Barack Obama of bugging his office.
Twitter, the corporation, is silent about the safeguards it has put in place for Trump's account. So we must largely take it as a matter of belief that the company, presumably with state security assistance, is on top of it.
But there has already been cause for concern, for example, in 201
Twitter said on Friday that it was investigating hacking Dorsey's account, adding that there was "no indication that Twitter's systems have been compromised."
If it is meant to reassure someone, it failed. In fact, there is damning evidence of how tireless Twitter is. Whether the Twitter systems were compromised is also the point. The fact is that some managed to exploit the platform. It's a big problem for Twitter, no matter how the perpetrators managed to do it.
A total of 21 minutes passed before the company could even confirm that the CEO's account had been hacked. At 2:22 p.m. PT – an hour and 36 minutes after the first hacked tweet hit the ether – Twitter said Dorsey's account "safe."
How long would it take a nuclear missile to travel from North Korea to the United States? In 37 minutes, a North Korean missile could reach Honolulu; it will take only 41 minutes to reach Washington, DC.
Trump is right. Twitter is like a rocket. And we have now had two very clear warnings that the company is not up to the task of dealing with such a serious responsibility.