Less than two days were spent on Elon Musk’s initiative to democratize Twitter verification. After the site was taken over by verified trolls, Twitter temporarily stopped accepting new signups for Twitter Blue.
According to Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer, the company informed personnel that subscriptions were suspended to “help address impersonation issues.” It turns out that paid verification was just as chaotic as almost everyone had anticipated.
At first, it appeared that Twitter had a strategy in place to deal with the impersonation problem. The “official” label was introduced separately just before the launch of the new Twitter Blue and will be added to “government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, significant media outlets, publishers, and select public celebrities.”
But shortly after the plan was unveiled, Musk quickly changed his mind and scrapped it. On Wednesday, paid verification went live without a label.
Naturally, things started to go awry practically right away. A picture of Mario yelling at everyone was uploaded by a phony Nintendo account. A phony George Bush was retweeted by a fake Tony Blair.
A legit Martin Luther account was responding to a verified Pope Francis impostor when a verified Pope John Paul account tweeted conspiracy ideas at it. a fake @verified account on Twitter tweeted cryptocurrency scams. LeBron the fraud claimed to be asking for a move.
Twitter replied by stopping new accounts from receiving Blue subscriptions, although the action had little impact on the flood of verified harassment. To engage with other impersonators, fake accounts have appeared online.
One of the most well-known instances was when a verified Eli Lilly account tweeted that “insulin is free now,” forcing the actual Eli Lilly to issue an apology for the “misleading” tweet since its insulin is not, in fact, free. Then the real Eli Lilly apologized, followed by another false Eli Lilly.
A Twitter account that appeared to be a sales representative for Twitter ads pleaded with Musk to delete the phony Eli Lilly accounts. The tweets caused the bogus Eli Lilly accounts to be suspended, but the pharmaceutical company’s stock still fell as a result.
Elon Musk reacted by saying that spoof accounts needed to be identified properly. He tweeted, “Tricking people is not okay. Some made feeble attempts to abide by the rules. Despite writing “parody” on the header image on its profile, a bogus Tesla account using the handle @Teslareal persisted in trolling Musk (the account is now suspended).
— Karissa Bell (@karissabe) November 11, 2022
Contrarily, Jason Kessler, whose 2017 Twitter verification caused a nearly four-year “halt” in verification, was one of several extremists and conspiracy theorists who bought verification. According to Media Matters, several of these recently verified right-wing accounts are already utilizing them to spread false information.
The Washington Post reports that a verified account impersonating Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake tweeted that she had won the election even though the results had not yet been announced.
Twitter Blue subscriptions were no longer offered on the app or website by Friday morning. Additionally, a potential relaunch date is unknown. Additionally, Twitter stated that it would put back the gray “official” badge after all to “fight impersonation,” two days after Musk claimed that the blue check would be “the great leveler.”
Musk was optimistic despite the many policy reversals and the avalanche of imitators. Some truly hilarious tweets, he said. Today saw the most active users ever, he continued.