Elon Musk shines a light on Twitter’s Ethereum scambots problem

Just recently, inventor Elon Musk, famous for his innovations and his eccentric, direct public persona, recently shared his thoughts about a topic that’s become very near but not so dear to many in the crypto community: scambots.

Elon’s attention was recently intrigued by a comment that was posted underneath one of his more casual Twitter posts. The comment was made by a user with the handle @liangweihan4 and it said:

“My friends am admiration work hard technology innovate.  Please send bit coin I am excellent work hard technology study differential equation”

After a user @IAmJohnMcMahon commented how he sees “This guy asking @elonmusk for bit coin” as “his idol”, Elon Musk responded:

“I want to know who is running the Etherium scambots! Mad skillz …”

For some, the fact that the owner of Tesla is so well versed in crypto space came as a surprise and an encouragement.  For others this wasn’t surprising at all, as Elon shared his alternative views on life and economy many times before. Elon Musk previously posted how he owns “zero cryptocurrency” in response to the initial wave of scambots that started appearing underneath his posts in February. While he mentioned crypto before, this was the first time he mentioned the world’s no. 2 cryptocurrency on his social media.

As of lately, every verified twitter user seems to have at least one dedicated spambot promoting giveaway scams. These bots use a relatively simple tactic. The accounts have handles which are similar to the ones that the accounts they are copying have. They copy the original accounts name and profile picture, and then comment with their scam information underneath every new post that the official account they are mimicking makes.

Notice how the handle is slightly different from the official @elonmusk

Usually these are followed up by posts which explain how you can use any wallet to send your funds or that there is only so much ETH/time left before this “one time chance” expires. The posts are then upvoted by an army of similar bots, giving further legitimacy to the scam. Naïve and inexperienced people will fall for these scams, even though this scam’s “success rate” has dipped somewhat. This is probably due to the crypto markets entering the ongoing bear run and reducing the amount of uninformed “normies” in the space.

Even with this reduced efficiency, bots hound verified people’s twitter posts and promote their scams with annoying intensity, and Twitter is seemingly unable to deal with this issue. Vitalik Buterin reacted to Elon’s tweet about the scambot, expressing concern about Twitters lack of urgency to deal with this issue:

“I do wish @elonmusk’s first tweet about ethereum was about the tech rather than the twitter scambots……..@jack help us please? Or someone from the ETH community make a layer 2 scam filtering solution, please?”

Vitalik himself was the original target for these scambots, so much so that he ended up adding “Not giving away ETH” to his Twitter name. For their part, Twitter did ban millions of fake Twitter accounts used for spreading propaganda and scams, but the problem still exists. As of now, the scammers roam the crypto Twitter freely and a quality solution to this is yet to be found.

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