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Meta confirms Lil Tay’s Instagram account was hacked in death hoax amid publicity stunt claims | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Lil Tay’s Instagram account was indeed hacked, leading to a post that falsely reported the Asian rapper’s death earlier this week, according to Meta.

Despite swirling allegations the hoax was just a ploy for publicity, the social media giant – which owns Instagram – confirmed the hacking to TMZ on Saturday, noting it helped the controversial 14-year-old regain control of her account.

A statement claiming to be from the family of Tay was posted to her feed on Wednesday, alleging she and brother Jason Tian, 21, had both suddenly died.

“We have no words to express the unbearable loss and indescribable pain,” read the since-deleted post. “Her brother’s passing adds an even more unimaginable depth to our grief. During this time of immense sorrow, we kindly ask for privacy as we grieve this overwhelming loss, as the circumstances surrounding [Tay] and her brother’s passing are still under investigation.”

Lil Tay and her mother Angie, interviewed on Good Morning America in 2018. Photo: YouTube / Good Morning America

News of their deaths rocked social media, however suspicions grew throughout the day as some close to Tay, whose mother is Chinese, said they could not (or would not) confirm the allegations.

According to Business Insider, Tay’s father, Christopher Hope, “declined to answer whether his daughter was still alive,” while her former manager Harry Tsang said the situation called for “cautious consideration.”

What’s more, police departments in both Los Angeles (where Tay reportedly lived) and Vancouver (where she grew up) said they had no reports of her death and no investigations into the case.

The following day, Tay confirmed to TMZ that not only are she and her brother alive, but her account had been “compromised by a 3rd party and used to spread jarring misinformation and rumours.”

But questions about the legitimacy of the hacking claims soon arose, with many on social media wondering if the death hoax was instead a publicity stunt or “shameless cry for attention.”

Lil Tay not dead, says her social media accounts were hacked: new report

In a statement to Fox News Digital on Thursday, Tsang said he believes “the reported hacking incident may not have occurred” – and suggested Tay’s older brother may be to blame.

“My rationale for this perspective is twofold,” he explained, while noting that he has not spoken to Tay’s family in two years. “Firstly, the restoration of a compromised account on platforms like Meta/Instagram typically does not necessitate a 24-hour time frame. Secondly, the actions of Lil Tay’s brother, renowned for his propensity for extreme measures, led me to hypothesise an alternative motive behind this occurrence.”

Tsang went on to suggest that money and renewed fame could have been motivations behind both the hoax and hacking claims – “an endeavour to illicitly extract funds from devoted supporters and unwitting bystanders,” he said.

Before this week, Tay’s brother was believed to be the source of 2021 posts accusing their father of abuse.


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