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Twitter hacks highlight the need for due diligence online

Last month, a tweet stating the US president was hurt in a bomb attack that appeared in the Associated Press Twitter feed caused a dramatic fall in the Dow Jones industrial average.


The Dow quickly recovered when news broke that the tweet was false and it was the result of the account being “hacked”, but it caused the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to investigate the hoax, and examine market issues resulting from the hack.


The hijacking of the Associated Press Twitter account is just one of a many recent high-profile hacks of corporate Twitter accounts. False information has appeared in Twitter accounts at CBS, The Guardian, BBC, SkyNews, E! Online, McDonalds and Jeep.


These examples are reminder to be careful about making investment decisions based purely on online and social media sources. Before you act on information or news on the Internet, it is best to do your due diligence.


Companies normally address security breaches or hacks by issuing a statement or posting a news release to their website. If they are having difficulty getting information out through their online or social media accounts, they may go directly to the media with the information. Other affected parties may also issue statements.


After the AP account hack occurred, both the company and the White House stated the information posted on the account was false.


It is good to pay attention to what is going on in the world. However, in an age when anyone can publish content and news moves quickly, it is also good to be skeptical. 


Do not make rash investment decisions based on current events or news.


Check with your financial advisor if you have concerns certain news or company information may affect your portfolio or investments.  They can help verify the information and make adjustments if necessary.