Some joked that the cryptic tweet “;l;;gmlxzssaw” was a nuclear launch code from the United States. Others said that the Pentagon’s computers had been compromised.
Some also interpreted it as a warning to political conspiracists.
The US Strategic Command, which oversees the country’s powerful nuclear weapons force, now claims that the cryptic tweet on its Twitter account was sent by a precocious child.
Stratcom is based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and is in charge of the US military’s strategic deterrence — that is, the vast nuclear weapons force and missile defences that are intended to prevent foreign powers from attacking the world.
As a result, its media statements are closely scrutinised for any indications of a change in its current defensive posture.
However, Stratcom told Daily Dot reporter Mikael Thalen that the tweet was not a hidden message, but rather the product of a Stratcom social media editor working from home.
“While on telework, the Command’s Twitter manager mistakenly left the Command’s Twitter account open and unattended. His very young child took advantage of the situation and began playing with the keys, unintentionally posting the tweet “Kendall Cooper, a Stratcom official, said in a letter Thalen posted on the internet.
“Nothing nefarious happened, i.e. our Twitter account was not hacked.”
After thirty minutes, Stratcom tweeted that the previous tweet should be ignored, and then both of those tweets were removed.
This isn’t the first time Stratcom has had issues with social media.
In December 2018, it joked on Twitter about being prepared to drop something “far bigger,” with a video of a B-2 stealth bomber dropping two bombs to the beat of pulsing music, in reference to the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball-drop in New York.
It later deleted the tweet and apologised for being “in bad taste.”