Early Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr.’s account on X (formerly known as Twitter) displayed a series of misleading and erratic tweets. One of these posts falsely announced the death of former President Donald Trump, which prompted swift confusion and alarm among followers and observers.
Details of the Hack:
- A post at 8:25 a.m. read: “I’m sad to announce, my father Donald Trump has passed away. I will be running for president in 2024.”
- Another tweet threatened North Korea with the phrase: “North Korea is about to get smoked.”
- Further posts contained references to Jeffrey Epstein and inflammatory comments about President Joe Biden, including the use of a racist epithet.
- A claim was made supporting the innocence of crypto personality Richard Heart, previously accused of investor fraud.
- A concluding tweet read: “When I become president I am going to burn the SEC.”
The tweets were active for a short period, with one post being shared over 1,000 times and viewed hundreds of thousands of times. By roughly 9 a.m., the tweets were deleted.
Responses and Confirmations
Andrew Surabian, a spokesman for the former first son, swiftly took to X to address the situation. “Don’s account has been hacked,” Surabian confirmed, emphasizing that the posts, especially the one pronouncing the senior Trump’s death, were “obviously not true.”
Further emphasizing the misleading nature of the hack, former President Donald Trump posted an unrelated message on his alternative platform, Truth Social, mere minutes after the false announcement regarding his demise.
X’s Security Concerns
This breach has reignited concerns over the security measures in place on X, especially considering its role in disseminating information and the upcoming 2024 elections. Earlier in August, X had mentioned that they were increasing their safety and election teams’ size. This announcement came after last year’s significant layoffs that saw a massive reduction in the company’s staff by over 80%, as stated by owner Elon Musk.
Previous Security Issues:
- In 2020, accounts of prominent figures like Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, and even Elon Musk were compromised. The hackers reportedly posed as Twitter’s IT support.
- X is currently under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over its commitment to user privacy and platform security.
- Former security chief for the company, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, alleged security vulnerabilities, which became public knowledge after disclosures were reported by CNN and The Washington Post.
Impact on X’s Reputation
The recent hack adds to the growing challenges faced by X, especially following its acquisition by Elon Musk. The platform has been in the limelight for various reasons, including its handling of hate content. A study by The Center for Countering Digital Hate suggests that X Corp. largely ignored hate posts by Twitter Blue subscribers, raising concerns over the platform’s algorithm and its potential to amplify “toxic tweets.” In response to these allegations, X has initiated a lawsuit against the research group.
Furthermore, with Elon Musk at the helm, there have been significant changes to X’s operational model. One notable announcement mentioned the transition to a subscription-based model, requiring users to pay a small monthly fee.
Repercussions and Responses
Following the hacking incident, there’s been an outpouring of concern from the public and other high-profile figures who utilize the X platform. With an increasing number of celebrities, politicians, and business leaders expressing their apprehensions, there’s mounting pressure on X to enhance its security measures.
- X’s security team is reportedly conducting an intensive review of the breach to identify any weak points and potential system vulnerabilities.
- There are suggestions to introduce advanced biometric authentication processes, which may include facial recognition or fingerprint scanning, to further secure user accounts.
- Recommendations have been made for users to regularly change passwords and enable two-factor authentication, although it’s still unclear whether Trump Jr. had these precautions in place during the hack.
It remains to be seen how these recurrent breaches will impact X’s user trust and the platform’s growth trajectory. As the 2024 elections approach, the demand for secure communication channels becomes paramount. Platforms like X need to ensure that they are not only disseminating information but also safeguarding the integrity and privacy of their users. For more details on X’s security measures and their recent changes, click here. to explore the platform’s updated guidelines and their renewed commitment to user safety and privacy.