OMAHA, Neb. — A tweet issued on the official page of the U.S. military command in charge of the nation’s nuclear arsenal early had many on social media confused and concerned.
What did the Sunday evening tweet, which read “;l;;gmlxzssaw,” mean? Had the account of the U.S. Strategic Command, which has its headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base south of Omaha, been hacked?
Within 10 minutes of launch, the tweet drew at least 12,400 “likes,” 9,000 retweets and lots of snark and speculation, the Omaha World-Herald reported. A half-hour later, a follow-up tweet apologized for the confusion and advised followers to disregard the previous nonsensical tweet. Then the mystery tweet disappeared.
“Should we be ducking and covering now?” one person responded.
Don’t feed the trolls: Why the Marine Corps says it disabled Twitter comments on a post about women at San Diego
It’s mostly veterans posting the comments.
STRATCOM officials provided the answer a day later: The tweet came from a rogue toddler.
In a statement issued late Monday, STRATCOM said the person who manages the command’s Twitter account was working from home when he briefly stepped away from his computer while the account was open. That’s when his child sat down to play on the keyboard and managed to hit “send.”
“Absolutely nothing nefarious occurred; i.e., no hacking of our Twitter account,” STRATCOM spokeswoman Karen Singer said in the statement.
The Air Force just learned the hard way that, sometimes, it’s best not to try to latch on to the latest viral internet meme.