It may come out in his memoir someday, but for now, we can’t prove anything. But, on Thursday morning, it really, really looked like the White House Press Secretary accidentally posted on Twitter his own Twitter password. It happens: You mistake some other field for the password one and click a button. Whatever happened, it seems that the error prompted the White House to tighten security.
Anybody who saw the mistake-tweet might have done a little digging around Sean Spicer’s Twitter, and soon realized that the “Forgot Password” menu for the account spit out an anonymized email address and anonymized phone number. It’s a great way to quickly retrieve your email, but linking a cell phone to your Twitter might not be a good idea if your job description is to be the mouthpiece for the leader of the free world. (If you connect a cell phone to your Twitter, in the event you forget your password, the services sends a text message containing an eight-character alphanumeric code.) Essentially, anybody with Spicer’s phone could take over his Twitter.
And yet, if anybody tried to log in to Sean Spicer’s @PressSec Twitter account, they would have been greeted with this recovery message. That’s a phone number and Gmail address:
About an hour later, the recovery options had been changed. The cell phone option was thankfully removed and it looks like the email had been changed from a Gmail address to what looks like a white.house.gov address:
The fact that Spicer’s recovery email address was a Gmail account received criticism on social media, but actually, Gmail is very secure. The fact that it’s massively popular doesn’t, for instance, make it Yahoo-bad.
So what about the president’s @POTUS account? Well, it was a Gmail account earlier Thursday, but thankfully, no phone number:
And it looks like the Gmail address had been changed to a White House one:
So what happens if Trump wants to use his arguably more important @realdonaldtrump account — but forgets the password? There are no hints given, just a field (do not attempt to fill this out!):
We are fresh in the wake of the first transition of power in the social media age, and it’s bound to be messy, and the transparency that comes with social media shows the seams for all to see. Which is a long way of saying this shouldn’t be surprising, at all.
By the way, you should not try to hack the account of Spicer or Trump, or any other government official. It’s against the law.Photos via Getty Images / Win McNamee