Japanese Billionaire Breaks Retweet Record with Promise of $10,000 Each to 100 Twitter Users

Yusaku Maezawa at SpaceX in September 2018
Photo: AP

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa broke the record for most retweeted tweet over the weekend. How? The 43-year-old, who uses the name YouSuck2020 on Twitter, promised free cash to 100 randomly selected people who follow and retweet him.

The tweet has been retweeted by over 5 million accounts so far and promises to give away 1 million yen to 100 people, the equivalent of roughly $10,000 per person.

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“With a daily appreciation, I will give 100 million yen (total of gifts million yen) in cash. The only way to apply is to follow me and RT this tweet. The reception is up to 1/7. I will direct DM from me to the winner!” the Japanese-language tweet from January 5 reads.

Maezawa’s follower count has skyrocketed as a result of his impromptu promotion, from roughly 501,000 accounts before his tweet went viral over the weekend to more than 5.48 million accounts as of this morning.

The previously most-retweeted tweet was by an American teenager named Carter Wilkerson who was trying to get free chicken nuggets for life from Wendy’s back in 2017. Wilkerson eventually racked up 3.55 million retweets and, despite falling short of his 18 million retweet goal, received his free nuggets anyway.

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Maezawa, who’s estimated to be worth $2 billion, made his money by founding the Japanese retail websites Start Today and Zozotown. More recently, the billionaire made headlines this past September when it was announced that he’d be the first passenger on Elon Musk’s flight around the moon, tentatively scheduled for around 2023.

It’s not immediately clear how Maezawa plans to make good on his promise to give out free cash, but he claims that he’ll send direct messages to the winners. While giving $10,000 each to 100 people is chump change to the billionaire, successfully giving out money on social media can be a logistical nightmare.

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But one thing is certain: We can expect to see a lot of copycat tweets in the coming months, as swindlers try to capitalize on the publicity surrounding this “free cash” giveaway. Chain letter-style scams are already tremendously common on social media, but “legitimate” giveaways help make otherwise skeptical people more open to believing scams.

Yes, Maezawa’s free cash promotion might be real. But that next one you see is probably bullshit. But don’t let me stop you from becoming rich. There has to be at least one Nigerian prince who’s on the level, right?

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[Yahoo]

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog