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Twitter Attacked? Strange Photos Appear on Timelines

Thursday, 8 Nov 2012 | 11:36 PM ET

Shortly before 10:00pm ET on Thursday, Twitter users began complaining of unusual photos appearing in their timelines.

Source: Twitter

"Almost all pics are getting replaced by some weird Benghazi Libya/US flag bloody hand image," tweeted user @Eledhril.

A quick search for related tweets pulled up more than 20 complaints about the same mysterious image. Users described it as a "bloody hand" and "disturbing picture of American flag" with a message "about Libya on September 11th."

The photo, as tweeted by users, shows the names of the four Americans killed on September 11, 2012 in Libya. President Obama's campaign logo can be seen as part of an American flag, where this hand wipes blood.

Source: Twitter

Sam Laird, a writer for social media blog Mashable, also noticed a strange photo accompanying a tweeted story; a story that was unrelated to September 11th or Libya. As you can see in the photo, the thumbnail alongside the article's headline shows, what Laird called, "a demon tattoo photo."

CNBC.com reached out to Twitter to ask if the social networking site was the victim of an attack. A spokeswoman responded with a question of her own, inquiring if these photos are still showing in users' timelines. Apparently, this may have been news to the company.

In a subsequent email, Twitter told CNBC.com that this odd display of thumbnails and photos was the result of "a bug." This wouldn't be the first bug in recent months, as Twitter experienced an outage in June after the site was affected by the infamous "cascaded bug."

Earlier on Thursday, Twitter was thought to have been hacked after the site reset some users' passwords.

Did computer hackers take advantage of this new "bug" to push Libya-related photos onto users? CNBC.com will continue to update this story as we learn more.

E-mail: tech@cnbc.com

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