Yesterday, social network Twitter suffered perhaps the worst hack in recent history. Thousands of “verified” accounts were infiltrated as hackers posted messages to their millions of followers. The event was quickly followed up with Twitter locking verified users out of their accounts. This has sparked criticism and outrage—not to mention actions from lawmakers.
Twitter, like most social media, claims to be a platform for everyone. They say they want all users to have equal access to its community. We always knew that was a lie. Verified users (those celebrities with a checkmark next to their names) always had more influence on the platform. And that was exposed yesterday, when hackers took over their accounts.
Twitter was forced on Wednesday to put a temporary lock on most, if not all, verified user accounts – which are designated with a blue check mark – after the platform fell victim to a massive hack that targeted some of the largest and most prominent accounts on the platform.
Some of the top accounts that were successfully hacked by an unknown entity included the accounts of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Kanye West, Apple, Uber, Warren Buffett, Kim Kardashian, Cash App, Floyd Mayweather, and many others. [Source: Daily Wire]
The event revealed that verified Twitter accounts are unique to the system. Hackers were able to target them and only them—suggesting there are separate tools the site uses to help boost and control these accounts. The fact that Twitter was able to lockout just verified users proves that even more. Unverified users (i.e.: most of the millions of users on the site) were not affected by this breech and lockout.
Twitter has frequently denied accusations of censorship or “shadow banning,” but this event reveals they do have one set of tools (or rules) for the elite and another set for the rest of us. In a twist of irony, those rules ended up protecting regular folks and hurting the verified elite.
Now, GOP lawmaker Josh Hawley is demanding Jack answer for this breech.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) immediately sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey after Twitter failed to prevent the attack…
Hawley added, “Please reach out immediately to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and take any necessary measures to secure the site before this breach expands.” [Source: Daily Wire]
Hawley included a list of questions regarding the breech, questions that must be answered but Dorsey is unlikely to provide. Questions including, “How many users may have faced data theft as a consequence of this breach?” And, “Did this event represent a breach of users’ own account security or of Twitter’s systems?”
Such a high-profile event requires a significant response from Twitter. Every user (verified or not) will be worried that they were hacked or will be in the future. Their personal information might have been stolen by criminals. Perhaps evern viruses were downloaded onto their phones or computers? How will Twitter address this? How will they make sure this won’t happen in the future?
And more importantly, does this event reveal a double standard on Twitter that must be fixed?
It’s unlikely that Twitter will provide the answers Sen. Hawley is requesting. Which might lead to legal action or even new legislation. With so many users already fleeing Twitter to other networks, the platform might be running out of options for saving its skin.
Some have already called for Congressional committee hearings. It’s clear that both liberals and conservatives are waking up to the danger these unchecked social platforms wield—and how easy it can be exploited.