January 21, 2015 Last Updated 8:01 am

French daily Le Monde the latest news organization to have its Twitter account hacked

USA Today updates iPad app, but readers immediately rush to iTunes to tell publisher that the update has broken the crossword puzzle feature

The French newspaper Le Monde became the latest western news organization to have its Twitter account hacked. This time it was the Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-Syrian hacker group, that took over the paper’s account and tweeted “Je ne suis pas Charlie” (or “I am not Charlie”) in reference to the popular slogan in support of free speech and against violence.

LeMonde-Twitter-screenLike most of these attacks, the damage is slight and the account was soon taken offline, appearing again only a few hours later. The SEA then boosted of its hack on its own account, stating “We have successfully hacked Le Monde and we will never fail to deliver our message of peace and anti-terrorism.”

The question, of course, is why the hacking organization still has its own Twitter account?

Just three days ago the NY Post and UPI accounts were hacked, with UPI’s Twitter feed saying that “World War III has begun”. (It hadn’t, if you didn’t know.) The NY Post account proclaimed that the US and China were at war.

These hacks are becoming increasingly common, and increasingly ineffective, as the hacks are awkward and obvious. If anything, the hacks have simply alerted news organizations to their poor security and the need to tighten things up.


USAT-iPad-update-740USA Today updated its USA TODAY for iPad app. The app remains a bit of an oddity among newspaper apps in that it remains free and a stand-alone alone (as opposed to being moved into the Newsstand).

The app most likely remains free because the paper is able to report well over 1 million digital readers split between tablets and smartphones. Meanwhile, the paper only has just over 12,000 paid digital replica circulation, so a move to a paywall for the apps would have a huge impact on the total readership the paper can claim – currently at 4,139,380 Monday through Friday.

The update involves video content, but readers immediately took to iTunes to complain that the update has broken the crosswords feature. Although the update has just been issued, there are already 13 new written reviews inside iTunes, all 1-star and mentioning the crosswords. If I were part of the development team, but if I were Larry Kramer, president and publisher of the paper, I be smiling – this shows the loyalty many readers have to the app. I good sign, assuming his developers get right on fixing the bugs effecting the crossword puzzles.


Also updated today was the iOS app for Next Issue Media, now called Next Issue – unlimited access to more than 140 magazines. These long app names are silly, but necessary due to Apple’s rules concerning not using the same name for two different apps.

Zinio’s app, for instance, is currently called Zinio – 5,000+ Digital Magazines. That may seem long, but look at the app for Scribd, its called Scribd – Read Unlimited Books, eBooks, Documents, Magazines, Comics, Essays, Stories, Papers… – that may be going a bit too far.

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