17 November 2022
Fake Twitter profiles were recently hot in the press. Twitter, the global online town square, with about 240 million users saw a large number of accounts pretending to be high-profile brands and sending disruptive tweets.
The New York Times recently reported that (Twitter) had descended into a messy swirl of spoof messages and parody accounts. Shortly after buying Twitter, Elon Musk announced the introduction of a $8 subscription service for the coveted blue verification check mark. Very shortly after its launch users began abusing the program in a hilarious but also concerning way. Spoofed accounts claiming to be Verified Eli Lilly and PepsiCo accounts sent messages about free insulin and the superiority of Coca-Cola. One account with a check mark pretended to be Tesla, Mr. Musk’s electric car company, and bragged about using child labor. Another account claimed to be Elon Musk himself.
In the past, the blue check mark served as an authoritative sign to people that the content they were reading was really from the person or brand that they claimed to be. The Twitter Blue program changed that. To sign up, Twitter only required accounts to use a credit card and a phone number. No actual verification was carried out.
As a result of the plague of fake “verified” accounts, Elon Musk eventually relented and said in a tweet that the firm was “holding off” on the relaunch of the service until there is “high confidence of stopping impersonation.”
Fake social media profiles cause brands significant headache, especially when used to support phishing attacks or maliciously confuse a legitimate brand’s customers. Twitter blue was luckily parodied into oblivion, but another reminder to remain vigilant on social media and constantly check for fake twitter profiles.
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