Fake ‘Blue Check’ Twitter Accounts Flourish Under Elon Musk’s New Plan
There’s a new breed of users posing as celebrities and politicians after the launch of Twitter’s $8-a-month verification service.
(Bloomberg) -- There’s a new breed of users posing as celebrities and politicians after the launch of Twitter’s $8-a-month verification service.
People using false identities were awarded blue check marks on the website after the social media site changed its policy on verification after Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of the company last month. In one of his first acts at the company, he announced those badges would be available to buy under an $8-a-month subscription service.
Previously, the company had granted verification to people that it deemed to be high-profile and at risk of impersonation, such as politicians, celebrities or journalists.
One account with a blue tick appeared to show former US president George W. Bush tweeting an offensive message according to screenshots circulating online. The images showed another false account claiming to be former British prime minister Tony Blair retweeting the post. Both had been deleted by the time of writing.
Serious examples of confusion also include an account that claimed to be O.J. Simpson writing a message about the infamous trial in which he was acquitted of the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, according to other screenshots posted online.
Other users were caught in the changing policy with less grave results. Singer Doja Cat found that she was unable to change her display name back from “christmas” after a new rule came in. “Why can’t I change my name on here,” she wrote. “I don’t wanna be Christmas forever @elonmusk please help I’ve made a mistake,” she added shortly after.
Musk responded by writing “working on it!” but added that the mistake was “pretty funny though.”
Entrepreneur Mark Cuban complained that the new system made it harder to filter out notifications, which can be done by screening out accounts that are not verified. He wrote that he had previously done this to reduce the amount of trolling that he saw on the platform.
“I just spent too much time muting all the newly purchased checkmark accts in an attempt to make my verified mentions useful again,” he tweeted.
“It’s working for me. That said, we can definitely make the verified mentions tab more usable,” responded Musk.
More confusion arose after the company’s “official” tags were ditched. The gray check marks were rolled out Wednesday to accounts that previously had been verified under the old rules, but were ditched within hours after Musk changed his mind.
The legacy blue checks will be removed in “coming months,” said Musk in a tweet Thursday. He said too many “corrupt” verification marks exist right now, and there was no choice but to phase out the old checks.
The new subscription is currently available only via in-app purchases on Apple iOS products in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US, according to Twitter’s website.
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