On Saturday evening, the New York Post news app began sending readers a bizarre series of push notifications and on April Fool’s Day, no less. The newspaper appeared to regain control of the app within about 30 minutes, but not before users received nine cryptic messages in quick succession.
“Heil President Donald Trump!” read one message. “In casting truth into the darkness of your shadow, you have gravely sinned…” read another. There were even lyrics from “Come as You Are” by Nirvana. It’s not quite clear whether the alleged hacker was pro- or anti-Trump, but the Post, owned by News Corp, typically leans right on political and social issues.
President Trump reads the Post, so perhaps, in much the same way that John Oliver has begun creating ads targeted at President Trump on Last Week Tonight, whoever sent these notifications may have been trying to reach the president directly. According to Axios, though, he reads the paper edition. So he probably didn’t receive the notifications on his phone.
At 12:15 a.m. Eastern, the New York Post tweeted a statement that read, “The push alert system for our mobile app was compromised this evening. Please accept our apologies.” Around the same time, the Post sent out a similar push notification. At that point, it appeared that whoever was behind the incident was finished anyway.
“With Lucid Love, Selah,” reads the last notification. While it might seem like Selah is the name of whoever was responsible, it’s actually a biblical exclamation, often used at the end of verses. This fits with the content of the messages, which have a biblical tone to them.
And while the notifications sound like Bible quotes and even draw their phrasing from the language of the Bible, none of them are found there. Besides the Nirvana lyrics, the text of the notifications don’t have any clear origin in literature, film, or music. The only thing close to one of them is a 2016 Hillary Clinton tweet that reads a little bit like one of Saturday’s alerts.
“For in truth, there is no other,” reads the alert. And here is what Clinton said back in July 2016:
Inverse has reached out to the Post for comment, but as of publication, has not received a response. This article will be updated the Post offers a comment.