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Twitter blue check unavailable after impostor accounts erupt on platform

Twitter blue check unavailable after impostor accounts erupt on platform

Before Elon Musk took over the badge was granted to celebrities and journalists verified by the platform to prevent impersonation

Twitter Verified (@verified) account is displayed on a smartphone screen.

Twitter’s relaunched premium service – which grants blue check verification labels to anyone willing to pay $8 a month – was unavailable on Friday after the social media platform was flooded by a wave of impostor accounts approved by Twitter.

The latest move caps a chaotic start for the new subscription service, one of the first major changes made by Elon Musk after taking over the company two weeks ago.

Before his $44bn purchase of the company, “blue check” was granted to celebrities and journalists verified by the platform – precisely to prevent impersonation. Now, anyone can get one as long as they have a phone, a credit card and $8 a month.

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But the new service swiftly fell victim to impostors – with users parodying everyone from Pope Francis to George W Bush. The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co was forced to apologize after an impostor account tweeted that insulin was free. Nintendo, Lockheed Martin, Musk’s own Tesla and SpaceX were also impersonated as well as the accounts of various professional sports figures.

For advertisers who have put their business in Twitter on hold, the fake accounts could be the last straw as Musk’s rocky run atop the platform – laying off half the workforce and triggering high-profile departures – raises questions about its survivability.

There are now two categories of “blue checks” and they look identical. One includes the accounts verified before Musk took the helm, and notes that “This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category” a message that can be seen by clicking on the checkmark itself. The other notes that the account subscribes to Twitter Blue.

An email sent to Twitter’s press address went unanswered. The company’s communications department was gutted in the layoffs.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted that “too many corrupt legacy Blue ‘verification’ checkmarks exist, so no choice but to remove legacy Blue in coming months.”

Twitter Blue was not available on the platform’s online version, which said signup was only possible on the iPhone version. But the iPhone version did not offer Twitter Blue as an option.

Twitter also once again began adding gray “official” labels to some prominent accounts. It had rolled out the labels earlier this week, only to kill them a few hours later.

They returned on Thursday night, at least for some accounts – including Twitter’s own, as well as big companies like Amazon, Nike and Coca-Cola, before many vanished again.

Celebrities also did not appear to be getting the “official” label.

Topics

  • Twitter
  • Elon Musk
  • Internet
  • news
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