On Oct. 29, a Weibo post with a screenshot of Elon Musk’s tweet in Chinese claimed Musk allegedly announced he will acquire Douyin and TikTok.
Musk is known for tweeting posts in Chinese sometimes. His “tweet” reads, when translated to English, “Now I am going to buy Douyin, including both the Chinese version (Douyin) and the international version (TikTok). Afterwards, I would delete those stupid laughing sound effects and background music.”
However, the claim is false. The tweet was not posted by Elon Musk. It is a prank tweet created by editing the HTML code.
The original version of this fake tweet was posted by a Weibo user “夏星繁” on April 28, along with a clarification that the content is “a prank [made] by modifying HTML code.”
This image became popular in October as multiple Weibo accounts reposted it following the news that Musk has completed the acquisition of Twitter.
The author apologized after realizing the screenshot had gone viral on Oct. 30 and added a red “prank” sign on the original image.
The user wrote, “I stated that it was a prank when I first posted it, but I didn’t think of putting a hoax sign on the screenshot. It caused confusion after being shared.”
Annie Lab replicated the process to demonstrate how easy it is to modify HTML code to create a fake tweet and a screenshot in the video below:
Some of these tweets could have been confusing for some users because sometimes similar posts can be authentic. For instance, he did joke about buying Coca-Cola earlier this year.
Annie Lab could not verify whether or not Musk is indeed interested in acquiring Douyin or TikTok, but we can confirm that the image in question shows a made-up tweet.
Douyin – including its international version Tiktok – is one of the most downloaded and profitable apps in the world and has reached approximately 3.3 billion installs globally.