Instagram has removed an account impersonating Apple CEO Tim Cook, but not before it fooled several high-profile execs.
The @tim.d.cook account surfaced in July 2023. It was first spotted by 9to5Mac, which assumed it was legit since it was being followed by multiple Apple VPs, including Lisa Jackson, VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, and Alan Dye, VP of Design. The article, which was originally titled “Apple CEO Tim Cook is now on Instagram – but not yet on Threads” was updated once the website confirmed the account was a fake.
Tim Cook only has two official social media accounts: Twitter, where he’s had an account since 2013, and Chinese microblogging site Weibo.
But in July, as Twitter morphed into X and alternatives like Meta’s Threads popped up, one could be forgiven for believing that Cook had decided to move on to greener pastures like Instagram. Google’s Sundar Pichai signed up for Threads, as did Apple Fellow Phil Schiller.
This incident serves as a gentle reminder that appearances can be deceiving in the digital age. It’s essential, now more than ever, to verify the legitimacy of online personas before sharing what these accounts post. That’s become a bit harder on Twitter at least, where legacy “verified” accounts were axed in favor of an $8-per-month subscription service that allows anyone with a few bucks to “verify” their identity.