Over the weekend of April 7-8, the @Bitcoin Twitter account, which is run by an anonymous user, was briefly taken over by two users, one claiming to be Turkish, then another one claiming to be Russian. The alleged hack prompted the social media platform to suspend the account before handing it over to its previous owner on Monday afternoon, April 9.
The @Bitcoin account had over 821,000 followers, but when it was finally recovered, it was missing about 750,000 followers. Twitter seems to be slowly restoring them.
Quick recap of what happened to the @Bitcoin account:— Bitcoin (@Bitcoin) April 9, 2018
1. ~36hrs ago I discovered the account had been suspended.
2. A new account using the same username began posting nonsense.
3. Community&media outrage ensued
4. Now reinstated, with 750,000 fewer followers than it had before
It does appear that Twitter is slowly reinstating some of the followers. Back up to >150k now.— Bitcoin (@Bitcoin) April 9, 2018
On the incident, a Twitter spokesperson said. “We do not comment on individual accounts so nothing to share”. The user behind @Bitcoin clearly disagrees with that view: “That’s some bullshit if you ask me. I’d like to know why my account was given to someone else, and then when it’s reinstated I’m missing 750,000 of my followers.”
Conspiracy theories are now spreading all over the internet. As the @Bitcoin account is supportive of Bitcoin Cash, founded after a dispute over how to address the growing network’s scaling issues, some are suggesting that the incident was purported by the Bitcoin Core side, who has falsely reported the account to Twitter for harassment or spam.
Jeff Garzik, Chief Executive Officer of Bloq and CTO of Space Chain, said:
“The @Twitter curation of its namespace is amazingly poor, @jack squatters and bots abound. The @bitcoin account griefer-jacking is just the latest episode”
He continued blasting on the social media platform:
“Twitter is rewarding bad behavior. To review, #Core fans reported @Bitcoin acct for abuse, reported my Reddit and GitHub accounts for abuse, drowned Bitpay and Xapo apps with one star reviews and votes, etc. This is how they “debate” with those who disagree.”
This is not the first time @Bitcoin is targeted. In January, a user called it a “Fake @Bitcoin account” and tried to report it to Twitter. Another flood of tweets claimed that they had reported the account for spreading what they considered being propaganda for Bitcoin Cash. Users have reported it for “spam,” “hate speech,” and “price pumping.” The account regularly claims that BCash is the real Bitcoin, which is viewed as a fraudulent statement.
Some believe the @Bitcoin account was hijacked by Roger Ver, a Bitcoin Cash supporter, as it only began tweeting about Bitcoin Cash in January despite being in existence since August 2011. Ver says he has no connection to the account, and @Bitcoin has tweeted that the ownership has not changed hands:
I've never owned the @Bitcoin account. It is owned by someone involved in Bitcoin since 2009. He supports #BCH, is well known in the Bitcoin ecosystem, but doesn't want to deal with incessant trolling so he has chosen not to make his identity public.— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) April 9, 2018
“I became busy with other things, much has changed since then and I’ve decided to take a more active role in the community once again.”