"Britney spears is dead by accident! we will tell you more soon," read the second tweet, again with the hashtag and frown emoji.
In a statement on the hack, Sony Music writes that its "account was compromised. This has been rectified. Sony Music apologizes to Britney Spears and her fans for any confusion."
Thirty minutes later, several tweets posted from the account, with the group OurMine taking responsibility. By 9 a.m. today (Dec. 26), the Sony tweets had been deleted.
The hacker group has frequently targeted high-profile accounts over the past year, including Marvel's Twitter accounts, as well as Netflix's Twitter account, in the same day last week. In September, the group gained access to Variety's website and email system, sending multiple messages to subscribers with the subject line "Hacked by #OurMine."
The group is ostensibly using the high-profile hacks as a way to market and promote its security services.
Singer Bob Dylan, hacked as well after sending a tweet, since deleted, that read "Rest in peace @britneyspears" with the same emoji. The account then shared Sony's tweet and mentioned OurMine in subsequent, also deleted, posts. A representative for Dylan confirmed to Billboard that Sony Music manages his account.
Updated, 12:59 p.m. and 4:27 p.m., Dec. 26: A statement from Sony Music in response to the situation was added, as well as confirmation from a representative for Bob Dylan that his Twitter account is managed by Sony Music.