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Twitter stock slides after widespread hack of politicians, celebrities

Twitter Inc shares dropped more than four per cent in pre-market trading on Thursday, a day after hackers gained access to the social media company’s internal systems to hijack accounts of several politicians, billionaires, celebrities and companies.

Hackers infiltrated the twitter handles of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk to solicit digital currency – raising major concerns about security on the widely-used platform.

Read more: Twitter says ‘coordinated social engineering attack’ targeted politicians, tech leaders

The hack “certainly doesn’t help,” Joe Wittine, Edgewater Research analyst, told Reuters in an email. It will pose more of a “reputational risk”, versus “material near-term risk to advertising revenues.”

Twitter said hackers targeted employees with access to its internal systems and “used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”

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In an extraordinary step, Twitter temporarily prevented many verified accounts from publishing messages as it investigated the breach.

Who is responsible for user privacy on social media?

Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said in a tweet on Wednesday that it was a “tough day” for everyone at Twitter and pledged to share “everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.”

Read more: Twitter hack alarms experts already concerned about platform’s security

Other high profile accounts that were hacked included rapper Kanye West, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple Inc. Several accounts of cryptocurrency-focused organizations were also hijacked.

Publicly available blockchain records show that the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

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