WASHINGTON — A wave of tweets in apparent hacking swept through Twitter on Wednesday, with more than half a dozen high-profile accounts – belonging to U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, billionaire Bill Gates, and rapper Kanye West, among others – used to solicit bitcoin donations.
The cause of the breach was not immediately clear, but the scale and the scope of the problem suggested that it was not limited to a single account or service.
Shares of Twitter tumbled nearly 4 percent in trading after the market close.
Twitter said in an email that it was looking into the matter and would issue a statement shortly.
Some of the tweets were swiftly deleted but there appeared to be a struggle to regain control of the accounts. In the case of billionaire Telsa Chief Executive Elon Musk, for example, one tweet soliciting cryptocurrency was removed and, sometime later, another one appeared.
Among the others affected: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple.
A spokesman for Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla was not immediately available for comment.
Publicly available blockchain records show that the apparent scammers have already received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency. (Reporting by Chris Sanders and Anna Driver; Editing by Sandra Maler and Diane Craft)