A multitude of people on Twitter celebrated on Wednesday night when it appeared that most large Twitter accounts as well as those with the blue verified check marks could not tweet due to an ongoing hack. Large numbers of high profile and celebrity accounts were hacked on Wednesday evening, resulting in what appeared to be an inability for many other high profile users to tweet because Twitter was trying to slow down the hack or had identified a problem affecting these accounts.
You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
Despite the lack of clarity, thousands took to the social media giant to celebrate and poke fun at the new reality. Some posted images of the French Revolution or the Korean film ‘Parasite’ as a way to show the feelings of the masses when the powerful “elites” of Twitter could not use their accounts. This is due to a perception that many “blue checks” only retweet each other and that the social media giant somehow prioritizes these verified accounts.
One user posted a photo of a fat cat to celebrate the silence of the “blue checks” while another made a reference to fascism: “First they came for the blue checks.” Others claimed that verified users were setting up alternative accounts to continue to tweet. One user suggested sending blue checks to “gitmo,” the secret US prison for terrorists. Others were just happy that certain obnoxious verified accounts couldn’t tweet. Many felt it was a period when the “kings” of Twitter had been dethroned in favor of the average users.
The happiness at seeing the blue checks silences illustrates the increasing frustration many users have with social media giants who appear to prioritize certain ideas and opinions, while silencing others or arbitrarily shutting down accounts. It is part of a larger struggle over what kind of content is “healthy,” in the views of the social media giants and of attempts to reduce average users having their views go “viral” as in the past. This has resulted in an exodus of some users from Twitter and Facebook to other platforms. For instance, many right-leaning people have gone to a platform called Parler.
The Twitter sans “blue checks” looked very different on Wednesday evening, with more of a feel of the old social media that prized cat photos and diversity of opinions over the more modern version that appears to be more about hot takes and more focused on politics, various discussions about “cancel culture” or journalism.Recap of the events, according to Twitter's own tweets:
*Twitter - detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some employees.
*Twitter - coordinated social engineering attack by people successfully targeted some of co’s employees with access to internal systems and tools.
*Twitter - looking into what other malicious activity they may have conducted or info they may have accessed.
*Twitter - internally, we’ve taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems and tools while our investigation is ongoing.
*Twitter - once co became aware of the incident, immediately locked down the affected accounts and removed tweets posed by the attackers.
*Twitter - locked accounts that were compromised and will restore access to original account owner only when we are certain we can do so securely.