Sony Music Entertainment’s Twitter account was hacked on Monday, publishing fake statements that pop music icon Britney Spears had died.
Sony Music, a unit of Sony Corp., said in a short statement that its social media account was “compromised” but that the situation “has been rectified.”
The company said it “apologizes to Britney Spears and her fans for any confusion.”
A Sony spokeswoman refused to comment further. A Twitter spokesman did not return emails seeking comment.
The 35-year-old international superstar and Grammy Award winner is “is fine and well,” Spears’ said by manager Adam Leber. Britney Spears is alive, despite a hoax reporting her death on Monday.
In the first of several false tweets on Monday, the company’s Sony Music Global Twitter account published a short message reading “RIP @britneyspears” and “#RIPBritney 1981-2016,” along with a teary-eyed emoji, Variety and Billboard magazines reported.
The fake tweets were soon removed. In some tweets, the group OurMine took responsibility.
The Twitter account of folk music icon Bob Dylan may also have been subjected to a hoax, when it sent out a now-deleted tweet reading “Rest in peace @britneyspears.”
The Sony spokeswoman confirmed that Bob Dylan is also a Sony artist and that the company’s statement “holds true for what’s happened.”
At least one media outlet rushed to post the “news” before finding out whether it was really true. Mirror Online, in the United Kingdom, published an article that began, “Britney Spears is dead, according to Sony Music,” before noting near the bottom, “However, it does seem the Sony Twitter account has been hacked.” The article was later updated to make clear that the story was a hoax.
Another unit of Sony, Sony Pictures Entertainment, was the victim of a devastating cyber attack in November 2014, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded was the work of North Korea. That hack came a month before Sony Pictures was due to release the film “The Interview,” about two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong un.