Sony Music Entertainment has apologised to Britney Spears fans after its Twitter account was hacked and fake statements saying that the pop music icon had died were posted online.
Sony Music, a unit of Sony Corp, said in a short statement that its social media account was “compromised” but that the situation “has been rectified”.
The company said it “apologises to Britney Spears and her fans for any confusion”.
— The Verge (@verge) December 26, 2016
A Sony spokeswoman refused to comment further, and a Twitter spokesman did not return emails seeking comment.
The 35-year-old international superstar and Grammy Award winner is “is fine and well,” Spears’ manager Adam Leber told CNN.
In the first of several false tweets on Monday (local time), the company’s Sony Music Global Twitter account published a short message reading “RIP @britneyspears” and “#RIPBritney 1981-2016,” along with a teary-eyed emoji, Variety and Billboard magazines reported.
The fake tweets were soon removed. In some tweets, the group OurMine took responsibility, Billboard reported.
The Twitter account of folk music icon Bob Dylan may also have been subjected to a hoax, Billboard reported, when it sent out a now-deleted tweet reading “Rest in peace @britneyspears”.
De officiële accounts van Sony Music en Bob Dylan melden dat Britney Spears is omgekomen bij een ongeluk. Grote kans dat ze gehackt zijn. pic.twitter.com/CN0XW52mE9
— Rick Kraus (@RickKraus) December 26, 2016
The Sony spokeswoman confirmed that Bob Dylan was also a Sony artist and that the company’s statement “holds true for what’s happened”.
Another unit of Sony, Sony Pictures Entertainment, was the victim of a devastating cyber attack in November 2014, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded was the work of North Korea.
That hack came a month before Sony Pictures was due to release the film The Interview, about two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.