Tweet in haste, repent at leisure.
The stream of consciousness that characterises Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter account was silenced after he sent a tweet asking: “Wanna buy some bitcoin?”
In a digital version of the boy who cried wolf, apparently Twitter blocked his account, which has 23m followers, because it suspected it had been hacked. According to reports, the account was locked down because several accounts that have previously used images of Musk to promote cryptocurrency scams had been detected. Other figures who have inspired spoof crypto-related personas include Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and John McAfee.
The context of the tweet is less sinister than Twitter feared. While Musk was professing his love for anime cartoons, he responded to a serious question about two-factor authentication for Tesla accounts with a rhetorical question about whether crypto exchanges utilise the technology. His tweet featured 1990s manga character Sailor Moon in front of a bitcoin logo.
Musk even tagged his girlfriend Grimes in the tweet. She responded, saying: “I’d prefer that free Ethereum u [sic] promised.”
Musk later told his Twitter followers that in terms of two-factor authentication, he was “working on it”.
Musk and his Twitter account are synonymous with trouble lately. A tweet sent by Musk earlier this year claiming he secured funding to make Tesla private landed him in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which accused him of fraud. Tesla shares jumped 5pc on the news.
Under the terms of a deal hammered out with the SEC and revealed last week (16 October), Musk has to pay a $20m fine and step down as Tesla chair within 45 days for a period of at least three years.
Tesla must also put in place a system for monitoring Musk’s statements to the public about the company, whether on Twitter, in blogposts or any other medium. Tesla will have to pay a separate $20m fine and appoint two independent directors to the board.