Elon Musk Said He’d Stop Twitter Impersonations…. But The Washington Post Has Discovered Otherwise

Remember when Elon Musk in one of his rushed and not well thought attempts to find something that would make Twitter lots of money in a hurry launched the original Twitter Blue. And as part of that you would get one of the coveted blue checkmarks? Well that turned into a train wreck next to a dumpster fire in a big hurry. Which resulted in Twitter Blue being pulled and relaunched. Part of that plan was this:

Subscribers will receive a blue checkmark next to their name, but only after they verify their phone number and their account has been reviewed. Let’s see if that stops the stuff that happened the last time Elon and company tried to launch Twitter Blue. Though to be fair, the company did say that subscribers who change their username, display name, or profile photo will temporarily lose the blue checkmark until their account is reviewed again.

Well, Geoffrey Fowler of The Washington Post decided to test to see if you can impersonate someone on Twitter. And here’s the answer:

On Tuesday, @SenatorEdMarkey briefly went viral on Twitter. Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the wife of Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), thanked @SenatorEdMarkey in a tweet that garnered 140,000 views.

The problem is, @SenatorEdMarkey is actually me, not the real Sen. Edward J. Markey. It’s a test of Twitter’s $7.99 per month Blue “verification” service I made with the permission of the real Democrat from Massachusetts. I wouldn’t blame anyone for being confused: My test account has the senator’s name and photo and a blue check mark that says it is “verified.” 

But Twitter, it seems, isn’t verifying much of anything. 

This is the second time I’ve been able to impersonate the senator. Back in November, when Twitter first began selling its iconic blue check marks to anyone for a fee, I showed how easy it was to buy official-looking status with an impostor account called @realEdMarkey. Musk, who bought Twitter in October, got into a Twitter fight with Markey about it. Then Musk shut down Blue and promised that in a new-and-improved version “all verified accounts will be manually authenticated” before they’re given the authority of a check mark. 

After Blue 2.0 (my term for it) launched on Dec. 12, I made another faux Markey and applied for verification. Some of Twitter’s new requirements slowed down the process — and might dissuade some impatient impersonators — but the company never asked to see a form of identification. Last week, up popped a blue check mark on my @SenatorEdMarkey account. Oops! I did it again.

I encourage you to read how Fowler did this as that illustrates who useless Twitter’s verification process is. But the bottom line is that anyone is still able to create fake verified Twitter accounts to cause havoc. That’s not going to help to make Twitter appeal to advertisers. And it’s likely to attract the attention of regulators in the US and the EU who in the case of the latter, were already skeptical about how Twitter Blue was being handled.

The bottom line is that this is going to be another problem for Elon to deal with. On top of all the other problems that he has. Sucks to be you Elon.

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