I spent the first fifteen minutes of the great Twitter hack of 2020 naked, in the fetal position, sobbing quietly. That was because I have a verified user blue checkmark next to my name (and these, along with likes and retweets, are doled out in quantities to produce just enough dopamine to prevent one from focusing on the fact that one is wasting one’s life on social media). Because of the scope of the hack, people with blue checkmarks were blocked from tweeting. First, they hacked our election. Then, they hacked our democracy. Now, they’d escalated the attacks to our Twitter. All things considered, I was taking it pretty well. But then it occurred to me that the Bitcoin scam that had taken over the biggest accounts on Twitter—Gates, Obama, Musk, Biden, Apple, Uber—had not taken over mine. Yes, I’m an addict, but apparently I’m an addict who’s not popular enough to count among Bitcoin scammers.

The sobs became screams. My two kids gingerly knocked on the sliding metal door of my man cave (where daddy does his work) and asked, “Dad, are you ok?” It wasn’t the naked sobbing and screaming that concerned them (I’m a news curator in the Trump era, they’re used to that). What concerned them was that I hadn’t Tweeted for more than thirty minutes. They assumed I was dead.

The Twitter pause gave us some time to reconnect through the metal door, and it was nice. It turns out my son is heading to high school soon, and my daughter is also up to something exciting, but I didn’t catch all of it because by the time she got to the point, Twitter had unlocked my account and I was focused on delivering an absolutely killer first Tweet back: “White House blames Fauci for Twitter outage.” (42 likes, 2 retweets; just enough to distract me from what’s become of my life).

We don’t yet have all the details, but Vice reports that the hackers convinced a Twitter employee to help them hijack the accounts. Whatever caused the meltdown (Twitter’s, not mine), it was big and widespread. The ramifications of this kind of vulnerability (Twitter’s, not mine) are significant. Senator Ed Markey got it exactly right: “While this scheme appears financially motivated…imagine if these bad actors had a different intent to use powerful voices to spread disinformation to potentially interfere with our elections, disrupt the stock market, or upset our international relations.” And let’s face it, even without a hack, certain bad actors already use powerful voices to spread disinformation to potentially interfere with our elections, disrupt the stock market, and upset our international relations. Of course, he’s got a blue checkmark next to his name, so at least the hack gave us a little break from his Tweets too. If only I had thought of the joke sooner, it would have done wonders for the platform (mine, not Twitter’s).

+ On the plus side, my own technical glitch was entirely overshadowed by Twitter’s. I left the link off yesterday’s top story about a leader in the vaccine search. The blurb and the link are right here.