Elon Musk officially launched the pay-for-verification system after taking over as the new boss of Twitter, and some users are already misusing it. Those spreading fake news are using the feature to impersonate someone else for $8 a month and see their content algorithmically boosted without any vetting. This has affected many people, such as American professional basketball player LeBron James. A fake account is gaining traction that shows James demanding a trade from the Lakers. Then there is the fake Nintendo of America account (with a blue tick) that shows an image of the popular Mario character showing the middle finger.
Following sports transactions and news could become a total mess with the new verification system
Already fake LeBron and Aroldis Chapman tweets going around pic.twitter.com/vQgMqws1W0
— Joon Lee (@joonlee) November 9, 2022
The new Twitter Blue subscription comes with a blue tick nearly identical to those assigned to celebrities. If a user is scrolling through the feed, the new tick looks exactly the same. The difference emerges when users click on the badge, they will get to know if it’s given to a notable person or paid for but a Twitter Blue subscriber.
A lot of such accounts have been suspended, but such fake posts have already spread across the platform. And with mass layoffs, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Twitter to vet the account at the time of payment or immediately stop it from spreading fake news.
Dude with 10 followers pays the $8 and immediately gets to impersonate @Jason,
— tony pierce (@busblog) November 9, 2022
Twitter rolled out an additional feature on Wednesday, giving organisations and celebrities a gray “official” label, but scrapped it hours later.
“I just killed it,” Mr Musk tweeted just hours after the new tag was added to government accounts as well as those of big companies and major media outlets.
“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t,” the world’s richest man added to explain the U-turn.
Mr Musk took control of Twitter after a bitterly-fought legal battle. It emerged on Tuesday that he sold $4 billion worth of shares in Tesla to help pay for a transaction in which he took on billions of dollars in debt.