Washington: The US Secret Service has launched a probe into the apparent hacking of an Twitter account operated by `Fox News` which announced that President Barack Obama was assassinated on America`s national day.
"The Secret Service is investigating the matter and will conduct the appropriate follow-up," the US media quoted as saying George Ogilvie, the spokesperson for the elite force which is charged with protecting the President.
The @foxnewspolitics feed stated yesterday: "@BarackObama has just passed. The President is dead. A sad 4th of July, indeed. President Barack Obama is dead."
The next one, "@BarackObama has just passed. Nearly 45 minutes ago, he was shot twice in the lower pelvic area and in the neck; shooter unknown. Bled out."
In fact, the hackers wrote six tweets, reporting that Obama had been shot to death in Iowa and the gunman had not been apprehended. The messages remained online for more than two hours before they were taken down.
Fox News said the tweets were "malicious" and "false" and announced it will conduct an investigation of its own.
"We will be requesting a detailed investigation from Twitter about how this occurred, and measures to prevent future unauthorised access into FoxNews.com accounts," Fox News Digital VP and general manager Jeff Misenti said.
"Those reports are incorrect, of course, and the president is spending the July 4 holiday with his family," the US broadcaster added.
The `BBC`, which reported the hacking, had yesterday claimed that a group of individuals, calling themselves `The Script Kiddies` appeared to claim responsibility. But, it said it was unclear why Fox News became the target of the attack.
Fox News is said to be the most-watched cable news network in the US, with its prime time shows attracting two million viewers, well ahead of rivals CNN and MSNBC.