Japanese Billionaire’s Giveaway Breaks Record For Most Retweeted Tweet

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Social media posts announcing that famous billionaires, such as Bill Gates, have pledged to give away huge amounts of money to random people tend to be hoaxes. But one such post last week from a Japanese billionaire is very much real – and has broken the record for the most-shared tweet of all time.

Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of Japanese retailer Zozotown, is perhaps best known in the U.S. as the billionaire who Space X’s Elon Musk plans to send to the moon. But last week, Maezawa announced on Twitter that he plans to give away a total of 100 million yen, per CNBC.

The amount of money translates to about $923,000, but it was enough to become the most retweeted tweet in Twitter’s history, with over 5.5 million retweets as of noon on Monday. The contest will have 100 winners, selected at random, he said in the tweet, and to be entered they must follow him and retweet the post. The occasion of the giveaway is a highly successful sale that was recently completed by the retailer.

The previous record for the most-retweeted Twitter message was held by Carter Wilkerson, the teenager who got a free year of chicken nuggets from Wendy’s in the spring of 2017. Wilkerson won the nuggets even though Wendy’s said he needed 18 million retweets to earn them, and the tweet topped out at 3.5 million retweets.

“ZOZOTOWN New Year ‘s Sale is the fastest ever in history and handling volume of 10 billion yen has passed so far,” reads an English translation of Maezawa’s tweet. “With a daily gratitude, I will give you 100 million yen [100 million yen grand prix for 100 people] from individuals in cash. To apply, just follow me and just RT this tweet. Receptionist is up to 1/7. I will DM directly from winners!”

Maezawa, as part of his eccentric persona, uses “@YouSuck2020” as his Twitter handle.

Past holders of the most-retweeted record include the photo of President Barack Obama embracing first lady Michelle Obama on the night he was re-elected president in 2012, and the “Oscar selfie,” taken by Ellen DeGeneres with a large group of celebrities during the Academy Awards ceremony in 2014.

Space X plans to launch its first tourist space shuttle to a flyby of the moon in 2023, and Maezawa reportedly was the first to secure a seat on the flight. The technology for the shuttle is not finished being developed, however, so delays in the launch are possible.