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The original owner of @N gets his $50k Twitter handle back

Naoki Hiroshima has regained control of his stolen Twitter username, @N. 


Kate Knibbs


Posted on Feb 26, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 5:12 pm CDT

After a hacker extorted San Francisco Bay Area developer Naoki Hiroshima to relinquish his rare, one-letter Twitter username @N, he made a new account: @N_is_stolen. Hiroshima then wrote a highly-read essay on the blogging platform Medium explaining how the hacker, under the pseudonym Social Media King, manipulated GoDaddy and PayPal to gain the information necessary to steal @N, a coveted username valued at $50,000.

Yet nearly a month passed and @N was still stolen. Social Media King gave Hiroshima a breakdown of his hijacking process, but didn’t give up the account. Hiroshima was clearly frustrated by what appeared to be a lack of concern on Twitter’s part, tweeting that he didn’t believe the micro-blogging platform would do anything to help his case. GoDaddy and PayPal were also implicated in not helping protect Hiroshima. 

But perhaps, ultimately, things worked out, because Hiroshima is once again the man behind @N. Appropriately enough, Hiroshima took to Twitter to announce his recolonization of the handle:

Order has been restored.

— Naoki Hiroshima (@N) February 25, 2014

This is a happy ending not only for me but also for sane employees and loyal users of Twitter’s. Congrats to those, too.

— Naoki Hiroshima (@N) February 26, 2014

Meanwhile, some opportunistic tweeter seized the now-vacant @N_is_stolen handle, tweeting once to let people know he wasn’t Social Media King:

Hey Folks. I’m not the hacker who stole the original @n just some guy who was on twitter at the right time.

— X X X (@N_IS_STOLEN) February 26, 2014

The real Social Media King’s identity remains unknown, as does Hiroshima’s method for getting @N back. The mystery continues!

H/T The Verge | Photo via Garrett Heath/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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*First Published: Feb 26, 2014, 5:13 pm CST