An attempt by state Department of Transportation officials to add ferry information to its Twitter account nearly sank its social media reputation.
Several bogus tweets claiming that the Connecticut River Ferry had collided with another boat and sank, or ran out of fuel and floated “out to sea” have been sent for the past few days.
But they are not somebody’s twisted notion of an April Fool’s prank and the DOT’s Twitter account “definitely has not been hacked,” department spokesman Kevin Nursick said Wednesday morning.
“We were doing some test tweets from a separate account,” Nursick said. “They weren’t supposed to be going live. We were backfilling with some funny ones while we worked out how to add the ferry information to our Twitter feed.”
The fake tweets have the standard generic avatar that Twitter uses when account holders don’t upload their own image. They carry the same #cttraffic hashtag that DOT’s legitimate tweets do.
The test tweets came from the State-Development sub account, also controlled by the DOT. What made things more confusing Wednesday morning was that some real tweets, about road work or traffic delays, were mixed in with the fake ones.
Traffic reporters, motorists and other users may tweet with the #cttraffic hashtag. The main DOT Twitter feed has a small map of the state as its avatar.
“We were doing the work in-house to save taxpayer money,” Nursick said. “But we’ll take these down and clearly mark any new test tweets. We also won’t use any more silly tweets.
“I’m going to talk to our IT guys right now. We’ll be hacking the cables if we have to,” the DOT spokesman said.
Here are the fake tweets:
(-32514001) Road Work – TRUMBULL S15N 0.05 miles before Exit 48 (RTE 111 & MAIN ST) at 4/2/2014 9:26:28 AM #cttraffic
(31914004) Ferry Update: Chester Ferry ran out of fuel and went out to sea. #cttraffic
(31914003) Ferry Update: Rocky Hill Ferry sank to the bottom of the river after being struck by the Chester Ferry. #cttraffic