President Donald Trump was quick early Saturday morning to capitalize on his arch-nemesis, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, losing control of his city’s Internet account.
Friday afternoon, the official Twitter account for London’s Metropolitan Police Service began posting weird, bizarre tweets about obscure rappers and other matters.
Screenshots of some of them may be seen below (*LANGUAGE WARNING):
— Alannah Jasmine (@AlannahJasmine) July 19, 2019
— Tony Montana (@cmizzy1) July 19, 2019
— Lexi (@Lexi63496061) July 19, 2019
The Met Police.
Officers says they have lost control of London streets.
Apparently they lost control of their twitter account too. pic.twitter.com/peMfKM9NZy
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) July 20, 2019
While these tweets were being posted, journalists from across the world were reportedly receiving emailed press releases from Scotland Yard that said virtually the same thing.
Shortly after these events began occurring, Met Superintendent Roy Smith released a statement on Twitter announcing that hackers had obtained “unauthorized access” to the police force’s online accounts.
“We are aware that the @metpoliceuk has been subject to unauthorised access and our media team are working hard to delete the messages and ensure the security of the account. Please ignore any Tweets until we verify that it is back under official control,” he wrote.
Hours later, around 2:00 am EST, he released a more formal statement explaining that the hackers had obtained access specifically to the MET’s MyNewsDesk account.
“The Met Police Press Bureau uses an online provider called MyNewsDesk to issue news releases and other content,” the statement reads. “When a story is published via MyNewsDesk, it appears on the Met’s website and Twitter accounts and generates an email to those who’ve subscribed to receive our news updates.”
“Last night, Friday 19 July, unauthorised messages appeared on the news section of our website as well as on the @metpoliceuk Twitter feed and in emails sent to subscribers. While we are still working to establish exactly what happened, we have begun making changes to our access arrangements to MyNewsDesk. We apologise to our subscribers and followers for the messages they have received.”
The statement added that the Met’s own computer infrastructure — which is entirely separate from its MyNewsDesk account — was not hacked.
We are aware that the @metpoliceuk has been subject to unauthorised access and our media team are working hard to delete the messages and ensure the security of the account. Please ignore any Tweets until we verify that it is back under official control. RT
— Supt Roy Smith (@roysmithpolice) July 19, 2019
— Supt Roy Smith (@roysmithpolice) July 20, 2019
While a police department’s online accounts being accessed by hackers wouldn’t normally be a huge story, given that it happens more frequently than it should, both Trump and noted British conservative commentator Katie Hopkins helped make the story go viral by pointing out that this sort of chaos in general has become endemic to London ever since Khan assumed office in 2016.
Except most of the chaos hasn’t involved Twitter accounts and meaningless tweets. The vast majority of them have involved lives — real, tangible lives.
Within the span of just one week in June, for instance, there were multiple acid attacks. On June 22, two thugs in London were caught on camera throwing a “corrosive substance” believed to be acid inside an occupied vehicle and then driving off in their own vehicle.
Earlier that same day, a market stall worker suffered an acid attack by two men “wearing burkas.” And five days before these attacks, an unnamed 21-year-old victim suffered a drive-by acid attack when a car pulled up beside his vehicle and the driver hurled a substance suspected to be acid at him.
But these weren’t just random incidents. They were a part of a growing trend across London. According to data from the MEP, there were 454 acid attacks in 2016, a shocking 173 percent increase from the 261 attacks in 2015, a year before Khan stepped into office.
Remarking about the overall state of chaos in London, the president tweeted Saturday morning, “With the incompetent Mayor of London, you will never have safe streets!”
He posted the tweet in response to Hopkins writing, “Officers says they have lost control of London streets. Apparently, they lost control of their twitter account too.”
With the incompetent Mayor of London, you will never have safe streets! https://t.co/pJqL1NjyvA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2019
It’s a sentiment that’s been expressed by plenty of others, including London 2020 mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, a black man.
“The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has over the past two years shown a distinct lack of leadership when it comes to tackling crime,” he reportedly wrote in a column last August. “He instead shamelessly blames the Government for the rise in crime and takes no responsibility for this disturbing increase.”
“I am running as the Conservative mayoral candidate to replace Mr Khan largely because I believe he has lost control of the streets,” he continued, adding that Khan had “bloated” the city’s bureaucracy while simultaneously wasting the city’s money.
“Too much of the overall police budget is spent on backroom bureaucrats and not police officers.”
Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has torn into London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s record in the capital, saying that he has “lost control of the streets”.https://t.co/YFA3ch8UVz
— So Block Me (@feb12boy) August 21, 2018
“Fear in communities is growing across London, they are saddled with the belief that if you step out of your front door, your life is at stake,” he added in a statement at the time to the Daily Express. “It saddens me that the Mayor is not taking enough swift action to divert the sadness and loss our innocent communities are continuously facing.”
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