NEW YORK (AP) — Conspiracy theories flew around Saturday morning after the Twitter account of conservative TV host Sean Hannity was “briefly compromised,” according to a Twitter spokesperson, and unavailable for a few hours.
After the Fox News star’s verified account posted a message that simply and cryptically said “Form Submission 1649,” visitors to Hannity’s page said they were getting a “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist” error message. By the time Hannity’s account was back up later in the morning, speculation was rampant about the mysterious disappearance.
Fox News referred questions to Twitter.
“While we normally do not discuss individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons, we have permission from the account owner to confirm that account was briefly compromised,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email. They did not realize any further information.
Some blamed shadowy “deep state” government figures looking to take down Hannity, who is a big supporter of President Donald Trump.
“The Deep State is in panic!” tweeted Alex Jones, a far-right radio show host. “Hannity disappears from Twitter after eerie tweet.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also took to Twitter to observe how Hannity had his account “mysteriously disappear.”
Other users were rooting for the theory that a rogue Twitter employee was behind the deactivation. That was Twitter’s explanation for an 11-minute outage that took down Trump’s twitter account in November.
At the time, Twitter blamed a customer support worker on their last day on the job and said that it was implementing safeguards to prevent the situation from happening again.