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.
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.
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.
“Not really how i pictured the world ending but also not entirely surprised,” another distraught user wrote.
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.
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.
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.
“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.,”
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