Social media platform Twitter Inc. (TWTR) has become a hotbed for cryptocurrency scams, and the company is now taking steps to end them by taking down manipulative accounts, as reported by the Verge. The move marks a larger trend in the social media space, wherein major players are striving to cut down on harmful content amid increased pressure from their users, the media and governments around the world. (See also: Ultra-Rich Investing More in Cryptocurrencies.)
In the recent weeks, con artists on Twitter posing as individuals such as Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of digital currency ethereum, and Tesla Inc. (TSLA) founder Elon Musk have used deceptive tactics to get people to send them small amounts of cryptocurrency by promising them a larger sum upon delivery. The scammers will use a slight misspelling of their username, or the same or similar avatar of the real account, to reel users in.
Twitter released a statement to The Verge on Thursday acknowledging the surge in this type of activity and pledging to take steps against it. "We're aware of this form of manipulation and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner."
Struggling to Combat Harmful Content
The Silicon Valley company does not currently have a specific ad policy relating to cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO)-related ads. In January, Facebook Inc. (FB) instated an outright ban on these types of solicitations. Despite Facebook's initiative, cryptocurrency ads have still found their way onto the platform.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey replied to a comment earlier this week from Cornell professor Emin Gün Sirer, who'd questioned the co-founder over the spike in crypto scams. "We are on it," said Dorsey.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the professor indicated that "crypto-spam reached untenable proportions recently ... It was impossible to discuss any topic without having some spammer jump in, impersonate a cryptocelebrity, and try to collect coins from people with promises of easy gains."
The decision comes as governments have cracked down on regulating the digital currency market. Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, plunged this week on a warning from the SEC indicating that traders should only buy and sell on exchanges registered with the agency. (See also: Bitcoin Is ‘Far' From Going Mainstream: BlackRock.)
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns cryptocurrency.