- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2009


Something strange is going on with Barack Obama‘s Twitter account today.

A message sent about 12:30 eastern time alerted the president-elect’s tens of thousands of Twitter followers of a new message: “What is your opinion on Barack Obama? Take the survey and possibly win $500 in free gas.” The message then linked to an odd two-question survey on a third party’s Web site.

Within minutes, the item, Mr. Obama’s 264th update, had been removed from his account at https://twitter.com/BarackObama. It was his first Twitter message since Nov. 5, the day after his election victory.

As of 2 p.m. the page listed only 262 updates, meaning two had been removed.

Mr. Obama’s presidential transition team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

His wasn’t the only Twitter account to get hacked. CNN’s Rick Sanchez announced on air his account was hacked, and several reports said entertainer Britney Spears’ account was also altered. Both of those had explicit drug- or sex-related items posted.

The Twitter item on Mr. Obama’s page included a link to https://tinyurl.com/9evlne, which automatically redirected to a quick multiple choice survey at www.e-researchcenter.us.com. That site calls itself “an independent rewards program for consumers.”

Twitter is a sort of mini-blog where users can give frequent short updates on their goings-on. Mr. Obama used Twitter to keep in touch with supporters throughout the campaign.

Neither Twitter nor e-researchcenter responded to requests for comment.

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