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Twitter will auction the nicknames of inactive users

Twitter will auction the nicknames of inactive users.


Twitter executives are looking for creative new ways to raise money and save the notoriously troubled company. According to the New York Times, the social platform is considering auctioning the usernames of inactive profiles.


The plan, explains the prestigious American newspaper, has been under discussion for about a month. Twitter CEO Elon Musk last month said he intended to eliminate 1.5 billion inactive accounts, thus freeing up “their nicknames”. At the time he had not mentioned the possibility of auctioning those nicknames and many users had deluded themselves that the names thus released would be made available for free.

That’s not a bad idea: there’s a bustling black market in coveted nicknames, often referred to as ‘ OGs ‘. Two years ago Twitter suffered the most important cyber attack of its history: hackers little more than kids have taken control of a huge number of verified accounts (including those of Musk, Bill Gates and Barack Obama), using them to promote a clumsy cryptocurrency scam. We mention this case because the protagonists of this story were all active hackers of the forums dedicated to the illegal sale of OG accounts, i.e. accounts with coveted nicknames: very short (like ‘abcd’), of fictional characters (like @DarthVader or @Frodo ) or with commonly used words (like @Pizza and @Dark). Social networks like Twitter and Instagram don’t allow users to legally sell their nicknames, so these accounts are typically stolen by hackers and then resold on the black market, in some cases for several thousand euros.

Last year Telegram created its own platform for buying and selling the most coveted accounts, which are auctioned off and purchased using a cryptocurrency called Gram.


While it’s unlikely that most of Twitter’s inactive accounts have usernames desirable enough to bring the company big revenue, some collectors are willing to spend significant sums to get their hands on the most coveted nicknames. The Twitter experiment could therefore have a potentially very interesting outcome.



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