Wednesday 19 December 2018

Forgotten Twitter log-in blamed for false alarm panic in Hawaii

A screen grab from a Twitter account of the message sent out. Photos: Reuters
A screen grab from a Twitter account of the message sent out. Photos: Reuters

Mark Molloy in Honolulu

Hawaii's governor has admitted his response to last month's missile false alarm was delayed as a result of him forgetting his Twitter log-in details.

David Ige was informed within two minutes that the text alert sent to all residents on the isolated volcanic archipelago on January 13 had been issued in error and there was no threat.

But it took the politician another 17 minutes to issue a correction and tweet from his personal account "There is NO missile threat" after the message created a whirlwind of panic among residents and tourists in the US state.

The 61-year-old went into more detail about the reasons for his delayed response, clarifying that he initially couldn't access his Twitter account. "I have to confess that I don't know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords," he told reporters. "So certainly that's one of the changes that I've made. I've been putting that on my phone so that we can access the social media directly."

Mr Ige explained he had other priorities immediately after being informed of the error, adding: "I was in the process of making calls to the other leadership team both in Hawaii Emergency Management as well as others. The focus really was on trying to get as many people informed about the fact that it was a false alert."

Hawaii was sent scrambling after an official alert wrongly warned a ballistic missile was incoming amid heightened tensions between the US and North Korea. It took authorities almost 40 minutes to alert people via the same system the message was a false alarm after the wrong button was pressed. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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