Popular Blogger Sues Twitter to Recover Handle

Popular Blogger Sues Twitter to Recover Handle

UPDATE: On Dec. 30 Michael Berkens was able to recover the @thedomains Twitter handle.

SAN FRANCISCO — A recently filed lawsuit accuses Twitter Inc. of running shoddy security protocols after the network allegedly allowed a hacker to rip off a popular blogger’s Twitter account.

Michael Berkens, who operates TheDomains.com, a blog that offers news and commentary on the world of domaining, said that the unknown person who hacked into his account continues to control his @thedomains handle.

Further, the hacker has been taunting followers of @thedomains with derogatory tweets, the suit said.

The suit noted that despite numerous reports to Twitter, Berkens still does not have control of the account, which was compromised one week ago, on Dec. 22.

News of the hacking serves a warning to adult entertainment companies and adult entertainers that have Twitter accounts — protect them by not sharing passwords and by employing a two-factor authentication process, which is available.

“Having your Twitter hacked can be incredibly damaging to your brand,” Lauren MacEwen told XBIZ. “A hacker has the ability to cause widespread panic among fans or site members.”

MacEwen, an expert in social media and operator of 7 Veils, a leading marketing firm within the adult industry, said that security pioneer John McAfee’s Twitter account recently was hacked for a short period of time.

“The hacker tweeted out a price prediction for an alt cryptocurrency that caused a big spike in the alt coins price,” MacEwen said. “Once the news came out that his account had been hacked and his prediction was not valid, the alt coin had a huge drop.

“Depending on the misinformation being put out, a hacker has the ability to affect your whole business. This is why making sure that you have proper security on your account, such as a strong password and mobile account recovery set up, is important.” 

In the Twitter suit filed at San Francisco federal court, Berkens’ counsel wrote that Twitter is an essential conduit of internet traffic, content and communications, and that despite this knowledge Twitter accounts can be hacked or stolen relatively easily.

Berkens’ counsel added that the TheDomains trademark is well known, and that he had more than 28,000 Twitter followers and has distributed more than 56,000 tweets.

“Twitter’s security features and practices are below industry standards and are inadequate to sufficiently protect accounts,” the suit said.

Berkens’ suit makes charges of trademark infringement, computer fraud and abuse, negligence and recklessness, tortious interference with contract, breach of duty, conversion and unfair competition.

Berkens’ suit seeks unspecified treble damages and a declaratory judgment that Berkens owns the exclusive rights to the account.

It also seeks an injunction ordering Twitter to warn users about lax security protocols and inform users of the availability of newer and more effective protocols such as two-factor authentication and attorney’s fees.