When Fake “Elon Musk” Tweeted On Layoffs, And People Fell For It


Elon Musk has been quick with big changes at Twitter within a week of buying it. (File)

New Delhi:

Social media users were bewildered as Twitter’s new chief Elon Musk was seen to be tweeting in Hindi and Bhojpuri today — until it turned out that the whole thing was fake.

Elon Musk, from his real handle, was busy reinforcing his move to charge $8 per month for blue tick (‘verified’) users and the mass layoffs.

Amid this came posts from a verified handle @iawoolford that had changed the display name to “Elon Musk”. Now suspended, the handle originally belongs to Ian Woolford, an American-Australian Hindi professor who works at a university in Melbourne.

With the hashtag #TwitterLayoffs, when it shared some sarcastic posts — as well as some Hindi film dialogues and Bhojpuri songs — people at first glance thought it’s the tech billionaire himself.

The display picture for @iawoolford, too, had been changed to the one Elon Musk uses on his Twitter profile.

One of the posts, retweeted hundreds of times, read, “This bird is sold.” It used the viral “gormint bik gayi” meme.

“This time the broom will run, this time the broom will run! The broom will hit the corrupt Twitter!!” said another tweet, playing on the AAP’s poll symbol and anti-corruption slogans.

There was a Bollywood angle too, using a famous dialogue from the movie, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, said by Shahrukh Khan’s character: “Small things like this keep happening in big countries… isn’t it?”

This one, too, was retweeted by scores of people thinking the mercurial Musk was simply parodying himself.  

Another tweet used a famous Bhojpuri song: “Kamariya Kare Lapalap, Key Lollipop Lagelu.”


Mr Woolford’s profile on the website of La Trobe University, Melbourne, lists his research interests: “Hindi language and Literature, North Indian folklore, Maithili and Bhojpuri languages, and LGBTQ+ Movements in South Asia”. It says he can read/write/speak Hindi, Urdu and Persian; besides knowing Sanskrit, Bhojpuri and Maithili.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Mr Woolford was joking around or if his handle was being misused.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk remained unaffected by the criticism he has been receiving over his decision to charge Twitter users to get verified accounts.

On Saturday, Musk took to Twitter and reiterated his stance on the blue tick fee. “Trash me all day, but it’ll cost $8,” he tweeted.

Defending his decision to fire employees, he said that it was needed as Twitter was losing more than $4 million per day. “Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50 pc more than legally required,” he tweeted.

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