After reading Maye Musk’s book titled, “A Woman Makes a Plan”, I had ambitions to read Walter Isaacson’s tome. Then I read some of the early reviews.
It sounds like I’d need lots of coffee and at least three days free to read it all. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to drop AUD$50 on a hardcover book. So, I might wait until it was available in my local library or in paperback.
While I waited, I followed the esteemed author on social media. I liked a couple of his posts and then left a fickle comment. As a result, the flood of spam bots started.
What’s a Spam Account Look Like?
You’ll be able to quickly identify a spam account by these features:
- Mixed upper and lower cases, or unusual characters in the account name
- “This is a fan page”
- Asking if you are a fan
- Bad spelling and terrible English
- An automatic welcome message.
Look out for messages that mention finances or money. If you ignore them for a day or two, they are highly likely to give up and try someone else.
What Does a Scam Profile Image Look Like?
It’s easy to find images of attractive men and copy them to the profile image and feed. Fake profile images red flags are:
- The default grey man image.
- Tend to use the same image repeatedly.
- May have a fake blue tick added to the photo.
- May use the company logo.
- Be careful of weird emojis.
- Be careful of foreign language and foreign symbols.
How Easy is it to set up a Scam Profile?
I could set up a fake profile in around 5 minutes. First, I’d create a new Gmail account and then a new Instagram account. I could create at least 20 fake profiles in under an hour.
The trouble would be keeping track of all the different passwords. The second issue is that everything you do online can be tracked. So, you might think you are anonymous, but you’re not.
Can the Authorities Stop Scam Profiles?
In Australia, there are laws for defamation and copyright infringement. However, in other countries, these laws are less strict and perhaps not enforceable.
But if there is cause for concern or welfare, yes, the authorities can gain access to your social media accounts. Governments play a large role in censorship rules and regulations.
Elon Musk Scam Bots on Instagram
How can you spot an Elon Musk Scammer on Instagram?
- The feed doesn’t look cohesive.
- Images and videos are not original.
- Mentioning Bitcoin or Investment opportunities
You can see more about a person on Instagram. Just click on the three dots in the upper right-hand side of their profile account. Select “About this account”.
Here you’ll see something like:
Date Joined: July 2019
Account-based in: Nigeria
Former usernames: 7
If someone has changed their username 7 times it’s likely to be a fake account.
Instagram says: “The number of times an account changes its username may help you identify whether it’s authentic or misleading.”
The account being based in Nigeria is a huge red flag for this person. Elon Musk would be more likely to have America as his base, or it set to private.
When I searched for “elon musk official” on Instagram, I found over 60 accounts.
A user even reported that an “Elon impersonated” tried to scam him on Instagram. To prove his identity, he shared a fake photo of Elon’s Californian driver’s licence!
If you do a quick internet search, you can easily find a PhotoShop-ready driver’s license. You can even pretend to be Thor! On closer inspection, you might notice a fake photo is missing the watermark.
It’s highly likely someone who is tech-smart and intelligent, like Elon Musk would only have one legitimate Instagram account.
Elon Musk Scam Bots on TikTok
On TikTok, I found many, many Elon Musk accounts.
The official one is called “@Musksocials” and has a blue verification tick next to the account name. It currently has 452.5K followers and 3.4 million likes. The account follows 4 people, but these are wisely kept private.
The fake accounts just rehash images and videos that can be easily found online.
Elon Musk Scam Bots on Threads
I’m still getting the hang of Threads. You can follow @Elonmuskjet which promises to track his private jet with a bot. (Slightly on the stalker side – but oddly compelling). I think I have better things to do than look at flight paths.
On Threads, you’ll find “Investment Clubs” and more fake accounts. I do find Threads super easy to spot fake accounts. For example, when I click on the three dots, then “About this profile”. I found a scammer account:
- Super weird username
- Joined in July 2023
- Changed username 15 times on Instagram
- Based in Nigeria
Elon Musk Scam Bots on X (formally known as Twitter)
If public, Elon is most prolific on X (the social media platform formally known as Twitter).
On X, there are a couple of Parody accounts, @ElonMuskAOC is worth a follow. Fans have created an account with Quotes, and there’s a ton of fake accounts.
Again, the scam accounts are easy to spot.
- Username has a weird mix of numbers at the end.
- May have a fake blue tick added to the photo.
- Use images from other celebrities, like Taylor Swift
You could spend all day blocking fake accounts. I usually give myself a 5-minute limit on blocking accounts. At some point, it becomes a pointless exercise, and the platforms need to take responsibility for this.
The Real Elon Musk on X
I only use X for testing purposes. On my personal X account, it was easy to find the official Elon Musk account. It currently shows his company logo in black and white. The profile page has a photo of X headquarters.
You’ll notice a blue authentication tick right after his real name. He joined in June 2009. He follows 434 people or accounts and has an astounding 157 million followers.
Elon has 126 paid Subscriptions.
Underneath this section, I can see all of Elon’s posts and the time. I can read Replies, Subs, Highlights, Media and Likes. But I have better things to do with my life.
I can hit the purple subscribe button.
Remember to block early, and block often.
In this case study, we’ve looked at one celebrity. I’ve seen scam accounts for popular musicians, actors, artists, influencers, etc.
After some in-depth investigative journalism, I did find a couple of personal email addresses of the Musk family. I have messaged a couple of them, with no reply.
In the ICT industry, we are no longer six degrees of separation away from each other. With the power of search engines and LinkedIn, I can contact almost anyone I want with one or two emails or messages.
Be careful online. You never really know who you might be talking to….