Imposter Elon Musk Twitter account shared in false posts claiming he was 'suspended' over buyout row

·2 min read

After Tesla chief Elon Musk announced he was pulling out of a multi-billion dollar deal to buy Twitter, a screenshot was shared hundreds of times online alongside a claim that his account on the social networking site had been suspended. This is false: the posts shared a screenshot of an imposter account. As of July 19, Musk's official Twitter account was active and archives show he has been consistently tweeting since news of the buyout row emerged.

The screenshot of what appears to be Musk's suspended Twitter account was shared in this Facebook post on July 11, 2022.

Above the screenshot, the caption reads: "Elon Musk: 'I'm terminating my deal to buy Twitter.' / Twitter to @ElonMusk".

The claim began circulating online after Musk announced he was pulling out of his US$44 billion deal to buy Twitter.

The tech firm has since filed a lawsuit in the US state of Delaware urging the court to order the billionaire to complete the deal, AFP reported.

But on July 15, Musk asked the court to reject the bid, requesting for the trial to be pushed back until next year, citing the complexities involved in the case.

The post was shared hundreds of times here, here and here on Facebook in countries including Malaysia, Mexico and Morocco.

It was also shared in the United States and South Africa on Twitter.

Comments on the posts indicated some people were misled by the claim.

One user wrote, "Twitter is being brutal".

"Knew that would happen", another said.

However, the screenshot shows an imposter account.

The confusion appears to have stemmed from the typography used by the imposter account's Twitter handle.

The account circulated in the claim has substituted a lowercase "l" with an uppercase "i" to replicate Musk's official Twitter handle @elonmusk.

As of July 19, Musk's Twitter account was active and can be found here.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the imposter account (left) and Musk's genuine account (right):

A comparison of the imposter Twitter account (left) with Elon Musk's genuine account (right)

Musk's timeline shows that he tweeted on July 11 -- the same day that many of the misleading posts emerged. He also tweeted more recently on July 15 and July 18.

Archived links of Musk's Twitter account -- seen here and here on the Wayback Machine -- show it has been consistently active since it was reported on July 8 that he was backing out of the multi-billion dollar buyout deal.

The same misinformation was also debunked by Reuters and the Associated Press.

AFP has debunked other misleading claims about Musk here, here and here.

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