Famed Austin restaurant Franklin Barbecue had its Twitter hacked in late November. The social media account was taken over by something called “Blockchain Underdogs,” which claims that it has been “supporting underdog tech startups since forever.”
The hack occurred on November 24, according to co-owner Stacy Franklin. When she and co-owner Aaron Franklin realized what had happened, they “tried to log in and change the password,” Stacy says, “but the hacker had already changed the email address on file.” They reached out to Twitter several times to get this fixed, but haven’t heard anything.
While the hack happened just before Thanksgiving, it fell under the radar until Austin barbecue writer Jimmy Ho noticed the compromised Twitter account this week and tweeted about it on December 9. The next day, Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn likewise shared that the account was taken over by “some pathetic fraudsters.”
Blockchain Underdogs changed the name of the Twitter account from @FranklinBBQ to @underdogsbc. Someone who noticed what had happened saved the original account handle for the Franklins on December 9. “A very kind Austinite grabbed the handle,” says Franklin, “and has handed it over to us.” They haven’t used the account, which has just seven followers, down from nearly 63,000, at this point.
Currently, all of Franklin’s Twitter followers and previous tweets still exist on the hacked account. Franklin shared that they were not really using Twitter at this point (their last tweet was in April), “so now we’re pretty much done” with using the social media site. She noted that the hack isn’t impacting business. “Just getting lots of emails,” she said, “but there is nothing we can do.”
It’s possible that whoever or whatever is behind Blockchain Underdogs hacked the Franklin Barbecue account because they were after the restaurant’s followers list in order to scam people. That’s what happened with the accounts of several famous people over the summer, including now-Texas resident Elon Musk and president-elect Joe Biden, where the accounts asked followers to send them bitcoins. In response, Twitter froze those compromised accounts and just straight-up temporarily blocked new tweets from all verified accounts throughout the site.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, and blockchain is a way to track the digital currency through a central system, or, as Euromoney Learning describes, a “digital ledger of transactions.” Blockchain Underdogs doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else.
Eater reached out to Twitter to ask about what happened with the Franklin Barbecue account and what the company is doing about it; Eater also reached out to the Blockchain Underdogs account to ask why they hacked the Franklin account. Watch this space for updates.
Additional reporting by Erin Russell.