Shirley Temple! I’m more of a Streisand man myself, but even so she caused a bit of a stir recently as Huffington Post, NY Post and others reported her arrival on Twitter – including those who were “helping her to get verified“.
NY Post mentioned that she was conversing with Dick Van Dyke, and Toy Story 3 Director Lee Unkrich said that it was indeed her. With so many news sources and verified accounts stating that the Good Ship Lollypop had set sail for Twitter, it was inevitable that the account would quickly build up a following.
One slight problem – according to random people on Twitter (the best kind of verifiable source!) it may not actually have been her at all. For one thing, after the account had built up 10k followers, it suddenly changed to this:
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Spam posts galore! There’s Viagra, Twitter stalking, Cialis and work from home spam to choose from. At time of writing, one of the links takes you to a Portuguese language fashion blog (?) and some are currently offline. It’s a safe bet those links have been chopping and changing since the scam posts went live.
And now, a word from William Shatner.
…welcome back. After a short while, a number of individuals had managed to contact people representing the actress, and the word on the grapevine was not good.
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There’s a few more posts from Mr Bartlett above on a roundup post which just went live on Twitchy.com. At this point, things get really peculiar. A chap started posting to Twitter in the last half hour and this is how he’s rolling:
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“I was hacked a few days ago and made into a pretend Shirley Temple account and then [URL removed]. I hate hackers”
“Who the heck would pretend to be Shirley Temple”
Who indeed! Why someone would pick this random chap to give a Shirley Temple makeover instead of just creating a new account is a bit of a weird thing to ponder (especially on a Monday) but as we can see, the rather peculiar tactics at play here seemed to pay off for the scammers.
The Shirley Temple account is currently unavailable on the Twitter website, and I don’t think it will be back anytime soon (especially if it actually was the above account compromised by scammers and given a Shirley wig).
Even stranger, the above linked Twitter feed where the chap is saying he was turned into Shirley Temple? It’s now unavailable too! Can anyone say for sure what’s going on here at this point?
If you’re wondering, the Cashbackresearch(dot)com website states that it pays in “Paypal and gift cards” in return for entering an email address and taking surveys. It was created in 2007 and expires a little later this year. While the site was listed on the Shirley Temple account, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was part of the overall strategy or belongs to the person behind the hoax and could potentially have been a temporary landing page while the scammer set everything up.
At any rate, one of the more bizarre Twitter fakeouts that we’ve seen and a good reminder to always, always be cautious and verify directly from the source before stating that, yes, this is the real deal. Confusion over identity, confirmation of realness by verified accounts, some random guy claiming to have been turned into Shirley Temple and William Shatner talking about stuff.
This one has it all…
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