Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets have given elected officials a direct avenue to reach voters and constituents; however, they can also be the source of major headaches. At the center of the latest storm is Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York), who has denied sending a lewd image of to a college student from his Twitter account. The picture of a man in his underwear appeared to be an image of him.
Weiner has “flatly denied” sending the image.
“You know, I can’t say with certitude. My system was hacked. Pictures can be manipulated. Pictures can be dropped in and inserted,” Weiner told reporters.
When directly asked if the picture in question was of him, Weiner remarked, “You know I’m not going to talk about this anymore.”
Weiner, known for his combative and direct style with reporters and on the House floor, seemed to exhibit little patience for reporters’ questions, instructing them they were to ask the questions and he would provide the answers. As reporters further pressed him on whether he sent the image, Weiner made derogatory comments to another reporter.
While initially viewed as a minor story, the story has been kept alive by contradictory information from the congressman’s office. His staff first said Weiner’s Twitter account was “obviously hacked,” however, the Congressman has since started referring to the incident as a “prank,” although no one has taken credit or been accused.
Capitol Police have not opened the incident to investigation at this point.
To prevent any further such occurrences, a Twitter official has contacted members of Congress via email and provided security tips for maintaining personal and legislative accounts. The company advised offices to make sure they used a “strong password,” including both numbers and symbols and be at least 10 characters in length.
Speaking on behalf of the company, Twitter’s Adam Sharp wrote in a statement, “While we won’t comment on individual accounts, news reports of the past few days are a good reminder of the importance of actively protecting your accounts credentials.”
Dennis Berwyn of Apex Tek, a North Carolina based technology firm, echoed the company’s recommendations. “Too many people use passwords that are easy to figure out with a bit of research. The case involving Governor Palin is a prime example of how easy it is for a good hacker to penetrate an account. I advise my clients to change their passwords every month and make sure they don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.”
Apparently, the photo in question was deleted soon after being sent. It was reported by Breitbart’s BigGovernmrnt.com that the woman who received the photo lived in the Seattle area.
Weiner, perceived to be a leading candidate to replace New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is married to Huma Abedin, who works as an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.