Everyday Twitterati briefly rejoiced and roamed free on the social media platform while their “verified” counterparts were blocked from tweeting and Twitter attempted to undo the hackings of a cheeky crypto thief who exploited celebrity accounts and made off with netizens’ bitcoins.
Twitter Support announced on Wednesday evening that its team was investigating a particular “security incident impacting accounts on Twitter” and taking the appropriate steps to remedy the issue.
We’re continuing to limit the ability to Tweet, reset your password, and some other account functionalities while we look into this. Thanks for your patience.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
Prior to the notice, a number of celebrity and internet celebrity accounts tweeted sketchy requests for cryptocurrency. Issued under the guise of “giving back” amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, the tweets promised to double netizens’ bitcoins if they sent the cryptocurrency to a specified address.
“Only doing this for the next 30 minutes! Enjoy,” read the scam issued from the personal account of former US President Barack Obama.
Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Wiz Khalifa, Apple, Uber and Jeff Bezos all hacked and tweets have been put out from these accounts for people to send money to a Bitcoin address and $113,000 has been sent so far, wow! #Hacked pic.twitter.com/gdGzuMNYZc
— Benue Breed ❄️ (@oyimzy) July 15, 2020
Notable accounts infiltrated by the hacker included those of Obama, business magnate Bill Gates, entrepreneur Elon Musk, rapper Wiz Khalifa, fashion and music mogul Kanye West, former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, tech giant Apple, Uber and failed Demoratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg.
Even cryptocurrency exchange Gemini was amongst those hacked, resulting in the associated accounts of Coinbase, Binance and Coindesk being compromised and used during the scam.
While Twitter Support went to work to prevent a major cryptocurrency scam from tarnishing the platform’s name, unverified, regular Twitter users used the unprecedented opportunity to secure a bit of their own social media fame in the short time that verified accounts could not tweet.
Twitter has finally allowed me to win the father-son battle of who get to do takes.
— Rafael Yglesias (@rafaelyglesias) July 15, 2020
Verified Twitter accounts are locked down.
— Jim (@Lokay) July 15, 2020
The hackers after making that bitcoin and silencing the blue checks pic.twitter.com/sFNxTHalhj
— KB24 Forever (@FastTimesAtRF) July 15, 2020
Blue checks can’t tweet.
Make everything cake before they get back!
— Ryan Gaydos (@Gaydos_) July 15, 2020
The blue checks can’t post. It’s Lord of the Flies time. And we all need my glasses to make fire.
— Aaron (@BobbyBigWheel) July 15, 2020
— Ajaj Alawneh (@AjajAlawneh) July 15, 2020
Blue check accounts really got hacked and locked from tweeting lmaoooo
We poor accounts finally won today pic.twitter.com/sdDKvJJq7A
— Aero @ Bionis (@ActualAero) July 15, 2020
Didn’t have”Silence the Blue Checks” on my 2020 Bingo Card. pic.twitter.com/sqxTJSaBWS
— 💗 Lexi Bae 💗 (@MsLexiBae) July 15, 2020
person who is always on the computer: “this is so epic. twitter just banned the blue checks. let the chaos begin lol”
normal person: “I am saving up money to repave my driveway and latter I am going to watch Designated Survivor.”
— nick ciarelli (@nickciarelli) July 15, 2020
Blue checks trying to communicate through retweets are so sad bro. Like a genie stuck in a lamp lmao
— ヒューゴ (@HugoKitano) July 15, 2020
The revolution will not be verified.
— abolicious (@telushk) July 15, 2020
Although a random sequence of letters and numbers should let you know something is fishy about a post, BuzzFeed News senior tech reporter Ryan Mac noted that the addresses included in the tweets link to an actual virtual wallet.
It’s an actual wallet address and there are transactions happening. It’s unclear if these transactions are legit. Scammers often seed their own scams to give them the appearance of authenticity. https://t.co/GUHEDaKNxu pic.twitter.com/xfhl3817xr
— Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) July 15, 2020
As of the publication of this article, the celebrity-silencing scammer had managed to rack up more than $113,000 in bitcoins from eager netizens.