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

Elon Musk has been quick with major changes to Twitter within a week of purchase. (File)

New Delhi:

Social media users were stunned when Twitter’s new chief Elon Musk tweeted today in Hindi and Bhojpuri – until it turned out the whole thing was fake.

Elon Musk, of his real grip, was strengthening his move to charge $8 a month for users with blue checks (“verified”) and the mass layoffs.

In the midst of this came messages from a verified handler @iawoolford who had changed the display name to “Elon Musk”. The handle is now hung and originally belonged 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 movie dialogues and Bhojpuri songs – at first glance people thought it was the tech billionaire himself.

Also, the image for @iawoolford was changed to the one Elon Musk uses on his Twitter profile.

One of the posts, retweeted hundreds of times, read: “This bird has been 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 also a Bollywood angle, using a famous dialogue from the movie, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, said by Shahrukh Khan’s character: “Little things like this keep happening in big countries… isn’t it? “

This one, too, was retweeted by dozens of people who thought the mercurial Musk was just parodying himself.

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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 was not immediately clear whether Mr Woolford was joking or whether his handle was being abused.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk has remained unaffected by the criticism he has received over his decision to make Twitter users pay for verified accounts.

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

He defended his decision to lay off employees, saying it was necessary because Twitter was losing more than $4 million a day. “Everyone who left was offered 3 months of redundancy, which is 50 pc more than required by law,” he tweeted.

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