The message sent by the BBC Suffolk account suggested it supported the violent actions of the pop star’s former boyfriend Chris Brown, who brutally assaulted her at a California party.
The weird post, sent to nearly 5000 followers on Wednesday night, read: “The weirder Rihanna’s tattoos get, the less I blame Chris Brown,” the Telegraph reported. The public broadcaster quickly apologised for the “offensive tweet”, which officials were quick to blame on hackers compromising the official account.
Despite the message, sent just before 9pm, being promptly deleted, it provoked a furious online backlash after it was “re-tweeted” dozens of times throughout the social networking site. The BBC said an identical message was posted on dozens of other accounts recently.
Data experts also said that it was the sole message sent from a “mobile device” rather than an automatic 'twitterfeed'. The “misogynistic” tweet got condemnation from users.
One user, @igetmadsometime, posted in response: “Completely unacceptable tweet, especially from the BBC.” They added: “Don’t think the person tweeting on behalf of @BBCSuffolk was thinking AT ALL #BBC #fail.” Another, @katellzharris, added: “Please fire whoever is working on your Twitter feed.”
After the offensive message went viral on Wednesday night, the official BBC account posted a series of messages apologising for the messages. The first read: “Apologies, it appears something is up with our feed. Thanks to those who pointed it out to us.”
A second message, posted about an hour later, said: “The recent offensive tweet has been deleted. It was unsanctioned by BBC Suffolk and in no way condoned. Sincere apologies.” Shortly after, it posted a third message, which read: “It is clear now that the earlier offensive tweet was a hack. We will learn from this.”
Another user ?@HovellingHermit, wrote to the site: “A hack or someone simply using the wrong twitter account? If it’s a hack, your IT security is compromised across the BBC [all sic]!”
A BBC spokesman later added: “This was a hack doing the rounds on quite a few Twitter accounts. It was unauthorised and we apologise. “We have no idea of its origin but it has since been removed.”