No, World War III has not begun and the US is not at war with China
By RYAN GORMAN
Twitter was sent into a frenzy early Friday afternoon after reports of the U.S. and Chinese navies exchanging fire in the South China Sea -- but those reports were false.
The Twitter accounts for both the New York Post newspaper and UPI newswire were hacked around 1:00 p.m. ET, the latest in a series of media organizations being infiltrated. It is not clear if Friday's attacks were liked to those carried out in previous weeks.
Both media outlets began a series of tweets detailing a conflict between the U.S. and China.
"Breaking: Chinese anti-ship missile fired at USS George Washington," said the first tweet, which was sent from both accounts.
"US Joint Chief of Staff: USS George Washington damaged. US navy (sic) now engaged in active combat against Chinese vessels in South China Sea," said the second, also sent from both media organizations.
Most people picked up on the reports being fraudulent, but some, such as the Edmonton Sun, did not. The Sun reported the chain of events as fact but soon deleted the erroneous tweet after the paper came to its senses.
"JUST IN: Xi Jinping: Obama 'condemned' for Asia pivot, 'has forced China to protect its interests through military means,'" said the third tweet.
By this point the Post was deleting the tweets about as fast as they were being sent by the hackers. The paper also confirmed from its business news Twitter account that the main Twitter account had been hacked.
"Pope: 'World War III has begun," said the final tweet sent in relation to the supposed military action.
Other bizarre tweets claimed the U.S. Dollar would be pegged to the Swiss Franc and that a week-long banking holiday would begin on January 23.
Another tweet sent from the Post's Twitter account reported that "savings accounts would not be affected by the Federal Reserve's decision."
The false reports were removed from the Post's Twitter by 1:30 p.m. but remained on UPI's feed as of publication at 1:45 p.m.