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Obama's Facebook and Twitter updates hijacked in URL exploit

The president's social media accounts temporarily directed people who clicked on compromised links to a video titled "Syria facing terrorism."

Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

President Barack Obama's social media updates were temporarily hijacked Monday due to an apparent exploit in the URL shortener his team uses to promote Organizing for Action, an organization that promotes Obamacare.

Modified OFA links included in Obama's Twitter and Facebook updates, though now corrected, directed visitors to a 24-minute "Syria facing terrorism" video for a short period of time. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) has claimed responsibility for the exploit. The virtual army of hackers also said that it had accessed Obama's campaign e-mail accounts.

"The account's custom, third-party URL shortener which it uses to produce vanity URLs was compromised, not the Twitter account," a Twitter spokesperson told CNET.

The SEA is known for its high-profile attacks on Internet sites. The collective, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assa, has previously targeted The Associated Press, The New York Times, and Twitter.

The OFA-link blunder, though not a hack of the president's social media accounts, comes at an inconvenient time for Twitter as it readies to go public in early November.