Elon Musk’s Twitter verification plan backfires with a series of distasteful posts from Tony Blair, OJ Simpson, and Nintendo accounts | Science and technology news
Twitter’s new verification model seems to have backfired after a spate of distasteful posts from what appeared to be official accounts of famous people.
Previously, the blue tick icon was reserved for accounts Twitter checked and found to be genuine.
But after his takeover Elon Musk announced that anyone can buy a tick for $8.00 per month in the US and £6.99 in the UK as part of the Twitter Blue service.
Now the social media site is full of accounts pretending to be brands, celebrities and politicians.
A verified account impersonating former US President George W. Bush tweeted, “I miss killing Iraqis.”
Shortly after, another account claiming to be ex-PM Tony Blair quoted the fake Bush account and said “Same thing tbh”.
Another account claiming to be Nintendo posted a picture of Super Mario making an offensive gesture, while another claiming to be OJ Simpson tweeted, “Ya I’m ngl I did that s ***”.
Another, from a user posing as basketball megastar LeBron James, said he “officially requested a trade.”
And even Twitter wasn’t immune to the chaos, as someone mocked the company’s corporate account and apparently convinced many it was real.
Many of the accounts were subsequently banned, while others who identified themselves as “spoofs” remained.
Previously, the verification badge was only given to notable or high-profile accounts that Twitter had analyzed and found authentic, but now the only hurdle to clear is for a user to pay the monthly subscription.
Apple’s iOS users in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can now sign up and pay for the service, giving them the blue tick next to their profile name on the platform.
Musk has responded to criticism by arguing that adding a paid tier to the platform will help weed out spam and fake accounts as they won’t be willing to pay to get a foothold on the site.
Twitter Blue will also add a feature that encourages replies to tweets from verified accounts to root out those who aren’t verified on the site, as part of a number of other perks the company said will be available “coming soon.” available” is the subscription.
Musk is quitting work from home on Twitter, warning of ‘difficult times’ after mass layoffs.
However, critics have warned it will allow for a new wave of misinformation, as bad actors sign up for the badge and then pose as public figures to spread false information.
Twitter has pledged to stop any fake or misleading use of the system and says it will not allow users to change their display names after earning a badge.
Twitter’s online help pages state that the definition of the blue tick is “changing” as part of the update.
“Previously, Twitter used the blue tick to indicate active, notable, and authentic public interest accounts that Twitter had independently verified based on certain requirements,” the company says.
Explore the future with Sky News at Big Ideas Live 2022 to learn more about science and technology.
Find out more and book tickets here
“Now the blue tick can mean two different things: either that an account has been verified against the previous verification criteria (active, notable, and authentic), or that the account has an active subscription to Twitter Blue.”
For now, accounts verified under the old system are allowed to keep their own blue badges.
By clicking the blue tick that appears on various accounts, users will see a pop-up message indicating which of the two categories the person falls into.
Sky News has reached out to Twitter for comment.