Twitter has a growing problem with its security, which was highlighted again this week when the Associated Press’ Twitter account was hacked. The false tweet, which created a flurry of activity on Wall Street, has renewed calls for Twitter to introduce two-step authentication. Of course two-step authentication won’t stop every hack but it would certainly reduce the number.
The reputations of media organisations that are hacked are particularly damaged because the core of their brand is the accuracy and trustworthiness of their communications with the public. The next time the AP posts a big breaking news tweet we will have to second guess it. How crazy is it that we must dissect a tweet from the AP to make sure that it is legitimate.
Media organisations invest so heavily on security both virtual and physical – from heavily protected networks to security guards at the entrances to their offices – in order to protect their brands and ensure their reputations. There are generous allocations in their IT budgets for this. But they use services like Twitter that make them so vulnerable (much, I know, to the chagrin of their IT departments). So much money is spent making sure media organisations’ websites can withstand a hack, but what can they do to protect themselves when using services like Twitter? Currently very little. Sure, they strictly adhere to Twitter’s advice on account security, but they can’t pay for anything that keeps them more secure.
Both Twitter and media organsitions (and a host of other companies and personalities) have challenges. Twitter needs to generate more revenue and fundamentally better security. Media orgs must use Twitter, as bowing out is not an option, but they need better security. Surely there is a synergy here. Media organisations should have the option to pay for a premium service offered by Twitter that provides extra layers of security. It wouldn’t be the first time Twitter has differentiated between users and not everyone needs enhanced security, just like not every Twitter user needs a verified Twitter account.
For media organisations this cannot happen fast enough. They need to be on Twitter but currently they can’t pay to reduce the risks that are associated with it. It’s an opportunity for Twitter to drive revenue and begin the process of providing more premium services for heavy and professional users.