The official Twitter handels of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked yesterday by scammers.
The scammers were trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin, in a massive hack.
The list of accounts commandeered grew rapidly to include Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Uber, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, bitcoin specialty firms and many others.
Chief executive Jack Dorsey, in a tweet, said: “Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.”
“Most accounts should be able to Tweet again,” the Twitter support team said in an evening update of the situation.
“As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”
The duplicitous posts, which were largely deleted, were fired off from the array of high-profile accounts telling people they had 30 minutes to send $1,000 in bitcoin in order to be sent back twice as much.
“This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate!” Gemini cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss warned from his official account on Twitter.
“Happy Wednesday! I am giving back Bitcoin to all of my followers. I am doubling all payments sent to the Bitcoin address below. You send 0.1 BTC, I send 0.2 BTC back!,” the tweet that appeared on Musk’s Twitter feed read.
It added that the offer was “only going on for 30 minutes.”
The fake messages that appeared on the accounts of other famous personalities made similar promises of instant riches.
The account of US President Donald Trump, which has more than 83 million followers, was not among those hacked.
Twitter has been targeted by hackers in the past.
In March 2017, the handles of Amnesty International, the French economics ministry and the BBC’s North America service were broken into by hackers believed to have been loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.