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 claimed that it has been “supporting underdog tech startups since forever.”
Eater Austin reached out to Twitter, and a rep shared that they “reached out directly to the account owner to help them regain access,” this afternoon. The hacked account that had been operating under the name @underdogsbc is now gone, and Franklin Barbecue’s Twitter account at @FranklinBBQ is in the middle of being restored.
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.”
As part of the hack, 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.”
All of Franklin’s Twitter followers and previous tweets had still existed on the hacked account. Franklin shared that they were not really updating 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 has reached out to the Blockchain Underdogs account.
Additional reporting by Erin Russell.
Update, 3:45 p.m.: This article, originally published on December 11 at 1:38 p.m., has been updated to reflect that Franklin Barbecue’s account is being restored and to include Twitter’s comments.