Monday, January 22, 2018

Mystery of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange’s Twitter Account

Disappeared: Suspended / Hacked / Deleted / Deactivated?

Julian Assange on Twitter - Hacked?

UPDATE: The Twitter account reappeared less than a day later — with changes. Instead of just following one account (Wikileaks), the restored account is now following 25, including the Pope and accounts related to China, Ecuador and the United Nations. Also, the phrase “political refugee” was gone from his profile. His birthday was added and his location is now given as the United Kingdom.

Further, the official account of the United States Navy tweeted the phrase “Julian Assange” in what appears to be an honest mistake.


EARLIER…

Christmas Eve on the West Coast of the United States when Twitter started buzzing about the AWOL status of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s Twitter account.

Those on the official Twitter app could still access his account’s cached page and see the header and profile, though the message where the tweets should be said “Tweets not loading.”

Julian Assange on Twitter

Those using the Twitter website on a desktop, laptop or on mobile web browser were greeted with the blue-themed “Sorry that page does not exist.” page. Nothing of the usual “This account has been suspended.” for suspended accounts.

Julian Assange on Twitter - Hacked?

The immediate speculation, therefore, was that Julian Assange himself had deactivated his own account. There is also the possibility, however, that someone gained access to his account and then deactivated or deleted it without his knowledge.

More that an hour after users started noticing the account’s disappearance, neither Twitter nor the Wikileaks foundation had yet to issue any statement.

Adding to the confusion, there was another account that had become active at around the same time — using the Australian’s misspelled name as a handle @JulienAssange. (Actually, the small letter “l” was replaced with a capital “I” making it @JuiienAssange except appearing as JuIienAssange which in Twitter font looks like JulienAssange.)

This account was tweeting authentic-looking images of medical documents declaring that Hillary Clinton was suffering from dementia.

There is a separate @JulienAssange that last tweeted in 2011.

The real JulianAssange account that is vouched for by Wikileaks had more than 609,000 followers. It was never given a blue Verified checkmark by Twitter.

Do you think he deleted / deactivated his own account himself? Or did Twitter really suspend him? For what reason? Or was he hacked by an evildoer who then proceeded to delete/deactivate his account? Why would the hacker delete/deactivate the account instead of defacing it or posting embarrassing tweets?

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