The fake news appears to be originating from hacker group Our Mine.
Sony Music Entertainment caused a short frenzy early Monday morning when it sent a tweet that Britney Spears had died from its official Sony Music Global account.
“RIP @britneyspears,” read the tweet shortly after 8 a.m. ET, which also had a frown-face emoji and the hashtag #RIPBritney. “1981-2016.”
But the account followed up that tweet with a post that signaled to those following the news that the account had likely been hacked.
“Britney spears is dead by accident! we will tell you more soon,” read the second tweet, again with the hashtag and frown emoji.
Thirty minutes later, several tweets posted from the account, with the group OurMine taking responsibility.
The hacker group has frequently targeted high-profile accounts over the past year, including Marvel’s twitter accounts, as well as Netflix’s Twitter account in the same day last week. In September, the group gained access to Variety magazine’s website and email system, sending multiple messages to subscribers with the subject line “Hacked by #OurMine.”
By 9 a.m., the Sony tweets had been deleted.
The group is ostensibly using these high-profile hacks as a way to market and promote its security services.
Reps for Sony declined to comment when reached by THR.
Singer Bob Dylan also spread the news via his Twitter account, posting “Rest in peace @britneyspears” with the same emoji. The account then shared Sony’s tweet.
It appeared Dylan’s account was also hacked, as a third tweet included the #OurMine hashtag. (His reps could not be reached at posting time.)
The reaction to the apparent hoax was swift on Twitter, with many users referencing the high-profile Sony hack of 2014, one of the worst cyber attacks in corporate history.
Someone has hacked one of Sony Music’s Twitter accounts, it seems.
Keeping up the tradition of great internet security, Sony. pic.twitter.com/aQc5Ho1Wsg
— Ryan Brown (@Toadsanime) December 26, 2016
Who would hack Bob Dylan’s official Twitter and Sony Music Global for a Britney Spears death hoax? Some fucking goon, that’s who. Moron. https://t.co/26ZIMVsddC
— Brendon Connelly (@brendonconnelly) December 26, 2016
Sony must have gotten hacked again. Why can’t y’all get it together? Smh now I’m glad I left
— SimplyPamarie (@simplypamarie) December 26, 2016
More to come.