Some Twitter employee — probably several employees, actually — had a pretty rough day on Tuesday, after a hack led to the AP sending a fake tweet to its 2 million followers. If only the hacker had waited, Twitter could've stopped them! Minutes before appearing on the Rachel Maddow Show to talk about the hack Wired's Mat Honan reported, "Twitter has a working two-step security solution undergoing internal testing before incrementally rolling it out to users, something it hopes to begin doing shortly." It is not quite the edit button Honan had asked for in a piece published not long after the AP incident, but it's a big step forward for Twitter security. (Plus, as The Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield reports, an edit button would never work.)
Twitter security breaches, we've all learned, can be problematic. The AP hack on Tuesday reported to the world that the White House had been bombed and President Obama injured. It only took a few seconds to discredit the report, but that time frame was long enough to send the Dow plummeting. And then of course, seemingly everybody with access to the Internet had to write a blog post about how dangerous Twitter's its shaky security is.
This is not a new problem. Nearly two years ago, we pointed out how Twitter was content to remain hands off in hacking incidents, even those at news organizations that stand tos end fear into the hearts of millions of followers. After hacked NBC News account with hundreds of thousands of followers reported a terrorist attack in downtown Manhattan, Twitter declined to comment on the situation and directed disgruntled users to an FAQ about keeping your account safe. However, it now seems apparent that Twitter's own tools aren't enough to keep accounts safe, so Twitter's finally doing something.
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Of course, it'll be a little while before the feature rolls out to regular users. In the meantime, you have to applaud both Honan and Twitter for the timing of the update. Even though it's journalism and the two-step verification has been in the works for a long time, it feels like good customer service to hear that Twitter's taking action so soon after the AP boondoggle.