How did a bogus Tweet cause a mid-air scare? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

How did a bogus Tweet cause a mid-air scare?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - For the hundreds flying on American Airlines Flight 362, it was one small Tweet that turned their trip upside down.

Just a few sentences sent by a Twitter account called Lizard Squad saying there was a bomb on board. No bomb was found, and the target of the threat seemed to be John Smedley, the president of Sony Online Entertainment.

Earlier in the day, the hacking group Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for disrupting Sony's Playstation network, but it's unclear why the bomb scare. The FBI says it's too early to confirm a suspect or specifically mention any group.

"Currently the FBI is reviewing the facts and circumstances concerning the communicated threat to the airline," FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth said.

San Diego State professor Dipak Gupta specializes in terrorism and social media. He says diverting the plane over a Tweet was not an overreaction.

"It is a threat. Just like somebody passes a note saying I'm going to blow up the plane... what are you gonna do?" Gupta said.

He says it's always better to be safe than sorry. Gupta added that social media is being embraced by everyone from terrorists to people who troll the internet. But even though it offers them a new avenue to spread their ideals and incite panic, it makes them easier to catch.

"If people think they're totally anonymous, doing things in their bedroom, or wherever. They're wrong. They're totally wrong," Gupta said.

The FBI added that anyone caught making a false threat like the one on Sunday could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

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