John McAfee, the eccentric anti-virus pioneer known for publicity stunts and brushes with the law, announced he must "go dark" on Twitter, where he frequently comments on cryptocurrencies and has recently said government forces are out to get him.
"Developing events have made it necessary for John McAfee to go dark," someone wrote on his account Thursday. "Please be advised that this account will be operated by staff until further notice." McAfee and his wife didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment. About 14 hours later his Twitter account posted a photo of him and @theemrsmcafee "in their new backyard."
The note set off speculation in online crypto circles, fueled by McAfee's postings in past days that the Internal Revenue Service and other authorities have been "harassing" his former employees and business contacts. Last week, McAfee wrote, "I expect the U.S. government to act soon in order to silence me." He said he had prewritten more than 2,000 short statements "covering what I anticipate will happen."
Early on Friday, after McAfee's Twitter account announced he would step away from tweeting, a message appeared to cast doubt on speculation that he had been apprehended. "Those who read "go dark" as "incarcerated" shouldn't play lotto this week," it said.
In recent years, McAfee has focused on promoting various digital coins, and last month he vowed to reveal the identity of the anonymous bitcoin creator known as Satoshi Nakamoto. He later backed out, saying lawyers warned him it could complicate his plan to fight extradition to the U.S. from the Bahamas. A Justice Department spokesman in Washington said Thursday that he had no information.