Sony Music has apologised after its official Twitter account was hacked and hoax tweets announced that Britney Spears had died.
The entertainment firm’s tweets about the pop star, one day after George Michael’s death shocked the world, caused a stir online before it quickly removed the false messages.
“Sony Music Entertainment’s Twitter account was compromised. This has been rectified,” it said in a statement. “Sony Music apologises to Britney Spears and her fans for any confusion.”
The 35-year-old’s manager, Adam Leber, told CNN that “Britney is fine and well.”
“There have been a few internet clowns over the years who have made similar claims about her death,” Mr Leber said, “but never from the official Sony Music Twitter account.”
In 2001, a Texas radio station reported that Spears and her then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake had been killed in a car accident. Two presenters were later sacked for airing the hoax internet stories.
In the first of several false tweets on Monday, Sony Music’s Twitter account said: “RIP @britneyspears” and “#RIPBritney1981-2016”.
The Twitter account of Bob Dylan, who is also a Sony artist, may also have been hacked around the same time. The singer’s account issued a now-deleted tweet reading “Rest in peace @britneyspears.”
The Sony spokeswoman confirmed Dylan was also a Sony artist and that the company’s statement “holds true for what’s happened”.
The group OurMine claimed responsibility for the hack, according to Billboard magazine. OurMine claims they are not hackers but a security group checking accounts to see if they are secure.
The hacking group had previously boasted about hacking the social media accounts of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in June.
Another division of the media company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, was the victim of a high-profile hack two years ago. Scripts and sensitive emails were released in the cyber attack, which the FBI blamed on North Korea.
The embarrassing leak came shortly before the release of The Interview, a comedy film about two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
This article originally appeared on Telegraph UK.