Not Just For Selfies: Twitter Crypto Scam And How Social Media Transfers Value

This week, the popular social platform Twitter was hacked to promote a scam where $120,000 in Bitcoin was stolen. Similar crypto scams have run rampant on the platform for some time.

The ongoing issue highlights how social media has transformed from a place to post selfies, into an online community that is used to transfer value. But how does cryptocurrency fit into that future?

The High-Profile Twitter Scam That Propelled Bitcoin Into Media Crosshairs

Mainstream media caught fire the other night as some of the biggest names in the celebrity world, business, and politics had their twitter accounts comprised.

The accounts total an over 300 million followers, who were baited to send Bitcoin to an address owned by hackers. The hackers leveraged the fans of Kanye and Kim Kardashian West, Elon Musk, and the supporters of Joe Biden.

Over $120,000 in BTC was stolen as a result – a meager haul for such a massive and wide-reaching scheme.

Related Reading | Bitcoin Searches Spike On Google After Twitter Crypto Scam Goes Viral

This type of crypto scam isn’t uncommon on Twitter, it just rarely involves real, verified accounts. Typically scammers impersonate celebs like Musk or Bezos and try to steal crypto from social media users.

The intrusion was covered by nearly every major media outlet, calling it a “Bitcoin scam.” Bitcoin began trending on Twitter and Google searches for the asset spiked.

The situation highlighted how demonized Bitcoin is when it comes to crimes committed by others. But it also exposed a bigger issue: As social media platforms grow into their own sub-economies, security will need to be beefed up to protect the transfer of value.

“Twitter hack?” Yes. But this incident highlights a bigger issue. With the increased #crypto adoption, existing social and internet platforms need to revamp their security. Internet platforms are no longer just for selfies, it is used to transfer value.

— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) July 17, 2020

Social Media Platform Must Increase Security To Support Transfer of Value

The growth of social media has been unprecedented. Never before have online communities existed with such size, scale, and reach.

Platforms like Facebook sought to launch a cryptocurrency asset to turn its platform into a free-flowing economy of its own.

More and more, social media platforms are being used to transfer value. Whether its Facebook with Libra, WhatsApp with its payments feature, or Reddit with its community ERC20 tokens, new economic ecosystems are being created.

Related Reading | The Most Common Bitcoin Scams And How To Avoid Them

But social media platforms will need to take security much more seriously than they have privacy. Current security is designed to protect from users stealing selfies or digging into personal info.

Deeper account security will be necessary to prevent hackers like those involved in the Twitter scam from stealing funds left and right. Any new monetary system, much like we’ve seen with crypto exchanges and assets, becomes a target quickly.

And given how new this trend is where social media platforms are transferring value regularly, hackers will likely have a field day until improvements are made. However, the more high-profile hacks that make headlines on the news, will push these companies to make changes faster.

Cryptography, and cryptocurrency, may be part of the solution these social media companies can look into, much like Facebook has with their Libra project.