Last year, before Twitter was hacked by those spreading cryptocurrency scams, the crypto scam bots were rampant on Twitter. Every time Elon Musk would reply to someone or tweet, they would fill his replies up with links to the scam. They would even go as far as to impersonate those of us who Elon replied to.
It got to the point where we would report, block, and repeat to no avail. Then, in July of last year, Twitter was hacked. Towards the end of July, it reported that a Florida teen was arrested for being the mastermind of the Twitter hack, and the bots seemed to go away. Well, they’re back now with a vengeance, and earlier today, I was locked out of my main account again. As I write this, I’m unable to tweet from my main account (but at least it’s not wrongfully suspended again).
I’ve tagged both Elon and Jack in posts about it — Elon because it’s his account being targeted. I’ve also reported at least hundreds of these bots, and so have others. It’s exhausting, honestly, and I’m just about ready to say screw it and just block them. I mean, what’s the point of reporting if it doesn’t work? And now Twitter wants to roll out features where people pay to look at tweets, while it can’t even fix its bot issue?
What’s the clean technology angle here? Well, social network companies like Twitter and Facebook are some of the most powerful entities in the world, and they sometimes allow truly toxic activity that is harming people and even entire societies. Fake news — real fake news — and scams have been running rampant for years, and they appear to be growing rather than shrinking. Solving a variety of societal problems, including climate change and air pollution, rely on solving some of these problems with our most popular social networks.
Elon Musk and others who have been attacked by these bots deserve to have this issue fixed. Elon uses Twitter often to interact with Tesla customers and get feedback for improvements to Tesla products. It also affects followers, including reporters. Imagine tweeting something to him, then having your notifications get blown up by bots, and then having your account locked down, or in the case of Tesmanian’s writer, Evelyn Janeidy, suspended.
This also concerns me because of what I mentioned above — right before the big Twitter hack last year, the bots went nuts. They were impersonating people, taking our photos, changing their names to ours, and spamming people with links to their scams. They’ve upped their games again at the moment. Now they use Twitter polls, variations of Elon Musk’s name, and have even hacked verified Twitter accounts. Yes, verified.
Twitter needs to fix this issue. Its automated reporting system isn’t working when it comes to getting rid of bots. Instead, it suspends real people who don’t violate Twitter’s rules, like Evelyn.