Hacks in the mass media are nothing new. A month ago many Twitter accounts from celebrities and media worldwide were hacked with Nazi tweets in Turkish. In 2013 sites of The Washington Post and The New York Times were victims of hacker attacks on many occasions. In 2014 the main Twitter and Facebook accounts of CNN were targeted by hackers too, and the same happened to several other CNN’s accounts.
During the weekend the readers of New York Post got a surprise – a series of April Fools’ push alerts that came from the generally pro-Trump newspaper’s mobile app. One of those notifications stated “Heil President Donald Trump!” at about 10:45 p.m. on Saturday.
Later at least 8 more push alerts followed. “Hear me now, for I speak as an angel in the words of God. In casting truth into the darkness of your shadow, you have gravely sinned… and yet, for your generosity of spirit and sharpness of mind, salvation remains within reach”, said one of the messages. Another one mentioned a quote from “Come As You Are”, Nirvana’s 1991 hit song: “Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, but don’t be late…” Yet another notification forewarned: “For the fate of your soul is soon to be decided.” The alerts were seemingly aimed at Trump, telling him to “open your heart to those you do not understand and listen to all those you fear and look down upon”.
Social media immediately took notice, but the alerts lasted only several minutes. “With Lucid Love, Selah” was the last message of the unidentified hacker. The word “selah” is very often mentioned at the end of passages in the Hebrew Bible.
Trump himself is a known Post reader but it’s not known if he received the alerts. According to Axios’ January report, he usually reads the printed version of the newspaper. His Sunday morning tweets contained no mention of the alerts.
The Post quickly apologized for this hack on Sunday on Twitter and through another alert. The apology message said “Our push alert notification system was compromised this evening. We are working to resolve the issue. Please accept our apologies”.
Many social media users tweeted screenshots of alerts and posted jokes about whether or not the app was really hacked.