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AP Twitter feed returns, minus many followers, after hacking

The Associated Press account is back up and tweeting after being offline for almost a whole day and having to reset its follower count.

Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

After spending the better part of a day offline -- following a hacking and fake tweet incident that caused a violent hiccup in the stock market -- the AP Twitter is back up and tweeting -- albeit, to far fewer followers.

The main Associated Press Twitter feed had almost 2 million followers Tuesday morning. That was before the Syrian Electronic Army apparently got hold of the account and tweeted the "breaking news" that a bomb had gone off in the White House, injuring President Obama. The hoax was almost instantaneously called out -- the formatting and channel used to send the tweet weren't consistent with AP standards. Also, it didn't go unnoticed that a live press conference happening at the time in the White House was uninterrupted by a bomb blast in the building.

But even immediate refutation of the fake tweet didn't stop the stock market from freaking out and falling off a cliff for a few minutes before recovering just as quickly.

Shortly after the Twitterati began to cry foul on the fake report, other AP Twitter accounts and employees confirmed the hack and bogus tweet. The @AP account then disappeared from the Internet for the rest of the day.

It re-emerged this morning, minus the fake tweet and more than 1.9 million followers.

Those followers have returned quickly, though. Right now the count stands at about 560,000 followers, already up from 85,000 a few hours ago.

The AP said, according to Twitter, it may take up to 24 hours for AP followers to return.

After a string of recent bad news for Twitter, word is that the social network is working on more secure password control. It sure would be nice to see that in place before I see my account tweeting about something equally false and ridiculous -- like the rising public demand for a Twitter-based smartphone, perhaps.