Red faces over Hawaii’s false nuke alert got even redder this week, as the governor admitted he knew it was a mistake – but couldn’t alert citizens because he didn't know his Twitter password.
A state of panic ensued in the state on January 13, after a slip of the finger in the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent all residents with a smartphone scrambling for cover after receiving this message:
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
It was, of course, a drill gone wrong, which has been blamed on the bright spark who put "Test missile alert" and "Missile alert" next to each other on the system's drop-down menu.
Now, a further technical cockup has been revealed, as the governor, Democrat David Ige, knew it was a mistake within two minutes – but couldn't pass the message on to citizens via Twitter because he didn't have control of his account.
According to NBC News, Ige told reporters this week: "I have to confess that I don't know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords, so certainly that's one of the changes that I've made."
The problem is that his account is managed by his team, not the man himself, so he had to find his spokeswoman Cindy McMillan before he could update his status.
"Gov. Ige's Twitter and Facebook accounts have always been updated and managed by staff,” McMillan said.
“Going forward, he will be able to log in on his phone to post in an emergency situation. However, staff will continue to post to and manage both accounts on a day-to-day basis.”
However, it’s not clear how many residents would have even seen the message – Ige has just 7,734 followers at the time of writing.
Quicker off the mark was fellow Democrat and US Rep for Hawaii’s second district, Tulsi Gabbard, who beat Ige to punch by eight minutes – and has 179,000 followers.
The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation, while Ige promised an immediate review of the alert testing systems. ®
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