US Strategic Command has sent the Twittersphere into panic mode after it tweeted out an assortment of characters, which some feared could be the nation’s nuclear codes. The command later asked to “disregard” the now-deleted post.
The cryptic 13-character message appeared on STRATCOM’s Twitter on Sunday evening. In about half an hour that transpired before the post was removed, it racked up thousands of retweets.
US Strategic Command just tweeted this 😬😬😬 pic.twitter.com/2vR465AAUl
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) March 28, 2021
The message prompted a wave of frantic speculations as to whether something relatively benign such as the command’s Twitter password got compromised or something far more serious such as part of a launch code for the US nuclear weapons is now in the public domain.
— Brick Suit (@Brick_Suit) March 29, 2021
Bearing in mind that STRATCOM oversees the nation’s nuclear arsenal and fearing the worst, some began to brace themselves for an imminent nuclear apocalypse.
“Time to say goodbye to everyone. I’ll miss my friends and family,” technology blogger and app researcher Jane Manchun Wong tweeted.
Time to say goodbye to everyone. I’ll miss my friends and family
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 28, 2021
“Not really how i pictured the world ending but also not entirely surprised,” another distraught user wrote.
SHOULD I STOP MAKING PLANS TO BUILD MY PATIO AND JUST WATCH THE SUN SET FOR THE LAST TIME OR WHAT
— #DeeEff 1 (@DuarteFranch) March 29, 2021
In an apparent bid to rectify its mistake, the command apologized for sending the tweet, asking the alarmed public to “disregard the post.”
The succinct message, however, did little to reassure those who were already brought to the verge of panic by the original message.
“Ayo you gonna explain this or is the world ending in 1 hour,” a user asked.
ayo you gonna explain this or is the world ending in 1 hour pic.twitter.com/z6660UOdb1
— 𝕸𝖎𝖓𝖌𝖔 🪐🇧🇷🌹 (@MingoXIV) March 29, 2021
With the guessing game in full swing, the Canadian Forces in the US tweeted support for STRATCOM. ”These things happen. This might even happen to you one day. It’s okay, folks,” the consolatory message read.
These things happen.
This might even happen to you one day.
It's okay, folks.
— Canadian Forces in 🇺🇸 (@CAFinUS) March 28, 2021
The Canadian military’s sympathy only fueled speculations that the content of the cryptic message was indeed something worth keeping secret.
“Our nuclear codes, we worked hard to keep those secret and… they just tweeted it out,” a commenter lamented.
While the majority poked fun at STRATCOM’s apparent social media blunder, others, however, assumed a more serious tone, suggesting the US military would be better off without Twitter or even that the US goes nuclear-free to avert any incidents.
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“So in conclusion, literally no one should be trusted with nuclear launch authority and we’d all be better off when every single warhead is dismantled,” military technology writer Kelsey D. Atherton said.
Nuclear expert and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Vipin Narang suggested “nuking the STRATCOM Twitter account which, like deterrence, works best when it’s quiet.,”
My 2021 platform: In addition to scrapping the Nuclear Posture Review in favor of an integrated review, nuke the STRATCOM twitter account which, like deterrence, works best when it’s quiet. pic.twitter.com/xyZUZnYKiG
— Vipin Narang (@NarangVipin) March 29, 2021
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