Twitter Takeover: Pranksters Play Dirty Trick on Journalists

Pranksters took part of the news cycle on Friday, and claimed they were former employees, but it was apparently a hoax.

The changing of the guard at Twitter has evoked many reactions from people wanting to be part of the spotlight. 

Billionaire Elon Musk acquired the company in a $44 billion takeover transaction. The CEO of Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report began his firing spree on Thursday when he ousted top executives, including the CEO, CFO and chief legal counsel.

Pranksters took advantage of the uncertainty on Friday since media reports said that it was unknown if employees were told about whether they were still working at the company.

Fake Twitter Employees

The Washington Post has reported that Musk plans to cut 75% of the workforce or 5,625 jobs, but he the billionaire has refuted that news. 

Musk told employees on Oct. 26 that he will not lay off three fourths of the staff after taking the company private, according to Bloomberg, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

Two men claimed to be fired on Oct. 28, and were interviewed by several reporters from CNBC and Bloomberg. Both men were holding boxes outside Twitter HQ and said they worked at Twitter.

But it soon becomes clear that they were likely pretending to be former employees because one man says his name is “Rahul Ligma” and worked as a software engineer. 

The employee can not be found on LinkedIn and the name is not part of Twitter’s email or Slack system, which was confirmed by The Verge in an article.

The word “ligma” is an internet hoax of a fictitious disease claiming to have killed off Ninja, a popular Fortnite video game streamer and references a crude comment of “lick my balls.”

The video was posted to YouTube by The Independent, a British media outlet.

Another man in the video said he owned a Tesla and was concerned about making payments on his loan. This comment was likely made in reference to Musk serving as CEO of Tesla.

CNBC reporter Deidre Bosa, a victim of the hoax, tweeted later on Friday that she was unable to confirm the two speaking in the video worked at Twitter.

Bosa had said in a tweet that the two men are “visibly shaken. Daniel tells us he owns a Tesla and doesn’t know how he’s going to make payments.”

Pop Culture References

The men made other comments that appear to be absurd and do not relate to their alleged tenure of working at the social media company.

The comments include the following:

“I even own a Tesla, man. I’m a big fan of clean energy, climate change, even free speech too.”“It makes me worry about the future of our democracy… the future of celebrity conservatorship. I mean, when Britney [Spears] happened…”“Michelle Obama wouldn’t have happened if Elon Musk owned Twitter. Obama in 2008 wouldn’t have happened without Elon Musk owning Twitter.”

Musk’s actions usually provokes strong feelings or reactions from people. who either love or dislike him immensely. In March 2020, he famously decried the pandemic would be over in a few weeks. 

Other tweets about the pandemic were not well received such as when he said in March 2020 that covid “panic is dumb.”

Some of his other tweets were misogynistic and sexist.

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