Twitter Pledges Action on Crypto Scams After Account Bans

It's unclear how Twitter identifies which accounts to penalize for propagating cryptocurrency scams.

AccessTimeIconMar 6, 2018 at 11:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:39 a.m. UTC
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Social media giant Twitter appears to be cracking down on cryptocurrency scam accounts – but several members of the crypto Twitter community have been caught in the fray.

Responding to a tweet by Cornell professor Emin Gün Sirer, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote that "we are on it." Yet the statement drew some swift critiques given that, in recent days, a number of accounts – including the support team for cryptocurrency exchange Kraken – reported that they had seen their accounts restricted despite trying to warn others about copycat accounts that mimic well-known industry members.

Kraken's loss, at least, was temporary, with the ban eventually being lifted, according to subsequent tweets, after Dorsey's account became the target of community ire.

But other influencers such as Brooke Maller, aka @bitcoinmom, haven't been so lucky. As Mallers explained, her account appeared to have been shadow banned – a method by which an account is rendered unviewable by others despite the user in question not knowing that they've been hidden – prompting comments from other users.

She told to CoinDesk:

"People just started DMing me that they couldn't see my tweets in threads. It would say 'tweet unavailable.' Others said they aren't getting notifications when I tweet. But no word from Twitter. There is some really weird shit going on for crypto Twitter people right now. A rash of permanent bans and suspensions."

, director of communications at the Washington, DC.-based think tank Coin Center, also reported having trouble with his account, although it appears to have been reinstated. Several Twitter users who use and promote Ripple's XRP token have also tweeted about shadow bans through their networks.

The issue of copying verified Twitter accounts to trick cryptocurrency users has become increasingly prevalent.

Many of the threads in question begin with an influencer posting a tweet, after which a similarly designed account will tweet out some offer of free cryptocurrency – provided that an initial amount is sent to a listed address.

In order to make the posts seem more legitimate, other spam accounts will then post supportive messages, claiming that they have already received payouts.

More recent post activity indicates that those behind the spam accounts are using shortened links to hide wallet addresses, indicating that Twitter's anti-spam efforts are sweeping for that type of information.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

via Shutterstock

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