Elon Musk says Twitter blocked him after Bitcoin tweet

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Twitter apparently believed someone else was in control of Mr Musk's account

Elon Musk says Twitter briefly blocked him because the tech firm suspected his account had been hacked.

The Tesla chief indicated the safety precaution was prompted by a tweet he had sent asking: "Wanna buy some Bitcoin?"

Several fake accounts have previously used images of Mr Musk and variations of his name to promote cryptocurrency scams, sometimes within replies to his posts.

Twitter declined to comment.

"For privacy and security reasons, we don't comment on individual accounts," explained a spokeswoman.

However, the BBC understands that the account was locked down rather than "blocked".

Mr Musk's suspect tweet had featured an anime drawing of a girl wearing Bitcoin-themed clothing.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The Japanese art form is a current interest of the entrepreneur, who recently commented on his love for the movies Your Name and Princess Mononoke.

Mr Musk is far from being the only celebrity whose identity has been spoofed by those seeking publicity for dubious crypto-offers.

Others include:

  • President Trump
  • Bill Gates
  • Warren Buffet
  • John McAfee
  • Bloomberg reporters Olga Kharif and Lily Katz
Image source, Twitter
Image caption,
Fake accounts impersonating the famed investor Warren Buffet have also been used

In some cases, accounts are first registered to an unrelated name that gains a Twitter-verified tick only to have their image and username changed afterwards to impersonate a famous figure.

Cyber-security firm Duo Lab published a report in August detailing how software tools known as "bots" are being used to automate such scams. It said that they had avoided detection by taking steps such as making minor edits to the stolen profile images.

Mr Musk has previously complained about the phenomenon, and sought help to "get rid of the annoying scam spammers" from Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin.

Mr Palmer suggested the social network needed to find a way to automatically weed out such posts, and others have also urged it to be more proactive in tackling the problem.

"We are proactively tackling so-called cryptocurrency scams on the platform," a spokeswoman for Twitter told the BBC.

"In the last week alone, user impressions have fallen by a multiple of 10, a significant improvement on previous action rates."

Mr Musk has faced criticism for his own Twitter activity in recent months after repeatedly accusing a man of being a paedophile without presenting evidence, and claiming he had "secured" funding to take Tesla private when a deal had not been finalised.

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