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Twitter’s Credibility Hit Amid Elon’s “Twitter Blue” Proposal, Fake Verified Accounts Create Chaos

As Elon Musk takes over the reins of  Twitter, many celebrities have already deactivated their accounts, stating that the present and future of this social media site are in danger. Out of the many controversial changes proposed by the world’s richest man, one such policy of “Twitter Blue” has led to many fake accounts seizing on the chaos. The proposal ironically creates more inauthenticity and harms the credibility of Twitter.

An Ironical Decision By Musk

Introduced in June 2009, the Twitter verification system is a means to distinguish genuine notable account holders, such as celebrities and organizations, from impostors or parodies.” However, Elon Musk’s recent proposal to introduce a paid verification through “Twitter Blue” at $8 means that anyone can impersonate someone else for $8 a month and see their content boosted algorithmically without any vetting.

Aimed at generating faster revenue and ruling out fake accounts, the “Twitter Blue” tick has done more harm to the Twitterverse than any good. Now, anyone can get a blue tick badge by coughing up just $8. This has resulted in more fake accounts, leaving the credibility of this site in danger.

To make matters worse, Elon Musk publicly announced that “verified accounts who pay US$8 will be granted more visibility on the platform, while non-verified accounts will be suppressed algorithmically.”

A recent example of this chaos is a fake Twitter account impersonating LeBron James recently announced that the basketball star was requesting a trade away from the Lakers. Other victims include athletes like Connor McDavid and Aroldis Chapman. There is another fake Nintendo of America account (with a blue tick), depicting the image of Mario showing his middle finger.

How Are People Reacting?

While many confuse this blue tick as a status symbol, Elon Musk is a part of this lot. Please note that the “payment verification” is not, in fact, verification, but has only allowed people to create verified fake accounts for just $8. While we do not know, how many more bot accounts will pop up in the coming days, people are certainly keeping forward some genuine concerns.

Alejandra Caraballo wrote, “The people who incited violence and bomb threats against children’s hospitals have now all been verified under Twitter Blue. Advertisers should not support the vile hate being legitimized and amplified on this platform.” In another instance, someone impersonated Kim Taegyung by creating a fake account.

On this, V Stream tweeted, “Recently there’s a verified account pretending to be V aka Kim Taehyung on Twitter, we need to confirm that this is not the official acc from our boy! They just subscribed to Twitter Blue for the ticks and a lot of us have followed this faker.”

Shane Pittman posed an important question for Elon and tweeted: “Super confused with this Twitter Blue stuff. Thought I needed to subscribe to Twitter Blue to keep my verification. I do that, and now it says I’m verified solely because I’m subscribed. If I unsubscribe, will I retain my previous verification?”

Desus Nice, who has a verified Twitter account, wrote: “If you create a Twitter blue verified account with a banks name & register a fake domain close enough to the bank’s url, all you have to do is make a fake login page and collect the login/passwords combos.” Another person, who has a verified account wrote: “ew some of you bought Twitter blue? you just donated to a republican ew.”

The “Twitter Blue” subscription service has surely left many people confused, and at the same time, continues to hit the credibility of this famous site. In the hours after blue checks were put up for sale, Twitter was flooded with all kinds of verified impersonators. From brands to athletes, celebrities continue to become victims of these accounts which are spreading fake news.

Even though such fake accounts have been suspended, such fake posts have already spread across the platform. And with “mass layoffs”, it has become a herculean task for Twitter to vet the account at the time of payment or immediately stop it from spreading fake news. What does Elon think about this?

As for Elon Musk, the man is just focused on generating quick revenue for a social media site, which has generated only $7 million in in-app purchase revenue since 2014. After he fired several employees, celebrities like Gigi Hadid said goodbye to Twitter, referring to Musk’s takeover as a ‘Cesspool of Hate and Bigotry’.

FYI, Twitter rolled out an additional feature on Wednesday (Nov. 9), giving organisations and celebrities a gray “official” label, but then scrapped it hours later. “I just killed it,” Mr Musk tweeted just hours after the new tag was added to several government accounts as well as those of big companies and major media outlets.

On this, Twitter’s early-stage products executive Esther Crawford tweeted: “Not all previously verified accounts will get the “Official” label and the label is not available for purchase. Accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures.” The service has now been scrapped.

Like Elon said, “Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months”, the site will witness more chaos under the leadership of a  self-proclaimed “free-speech absolutist”. The day is not far when this platform’s value is going to fall off a cliff pretty fast. All I can say is, stay safe out there and be careful whom you choose to interact with.

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


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