U.S. Special Operations Command Central has admitted that a confusing Twitter message Saturday was a mistakenly posted search term, and not a hack as it initially said.
The tweet posted Saturday morning simply read "'Afghanistan' 'Islamic State,'" and was later deleted, leading some to speculate that SOCCENT's social media person had accidentally tweeted something they were searching for on the internet.
However, SOCCENT said Saturday night that its Twitter account had been hacked, further stoking confusion.
"In the past 12 hours someone hacked our unit's official account and tweeted a misleading message," SOCCENT said in another tweet. "We apologize for any confusion or insensitive content."
This explanation was received with some skepticism online -- to say the least.
"Ok I saw the bad tweet and regret to inform you that 'hacked' does not mean 'confused the tweet box for the search box,'" one person responded, following up with several laughing emojis and a skull, suggesting the tweeter had died of laughter.
In a statement Monday, SOCCENT spokesman Maj. Tony Hoefler said the prevailing theory on social media is exactly what happened.
"U.S. Special Operations Command Central acknowledges a misleading post to our official Twitter account on April 24, 2021," Hoefler said. "After review, it was determined our Twitter account was not hacked, and a social media administrator inadvertently tweeted the words while conducting a search for current topical events."
Hoefler said that no security breach took place, and apologized for any confusion.
"We are reviewing our internal processes to refine our social media practices," he said.
This is at least the second eyebrow-raising military tweet in as many months that raised hacking fears.
Last month, U.S. Strategic Command's official Twitter account posted the head-scratching message ";l;;gmlxzssaw." That time, social media lit up with jokes that someone had accidentally tweeted the code to launch nuclear missiles, or that the evil computer network Skynet from the "Terminator" movies was sending codes.
The real explanation was much more mundane: According to a response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the website The Daily Dot, STRATCOM's Twitter manager left his computer unattended while working from home, and his small child started playing with the keys and accidentally sent the gibberish tweet.