For a long time, the blue “verified” tick on Twitter was a way of distinguishing well-established and reputable news sources from less reputable sources or outright scammers. But with the new Twitter verification process introduced by new owner Elon Musk, essentially allowing anyone to gain Twitter’s “verified” status simply by paying an $8 monthly fee can get that blue tick no longer be trusted.
After Twitter rolled out its new verification update on Wednesday, the site was immediately (and entirely predictably) inundated with accounts impersonating star athletes and prominent media figures in an attempt to fool Twitter users with false information.
Within hours of the new Twitter update, multiple fake accounts posing as sports stars like LeBron James and Connor McDavid as well as sports media personalities Adam Schefter and Ari Meirow – all “verified” with a blue tick.
Well, the new paid ticks appear to be working exactly as we all expected pic.twitter.com/4Thk63i9il
— SB Nation (@SBNation) November 9, 2022
Although some of those accounts were eventually banned from Twitter for impersonating someone else — like a fake LeBron James account announcing a fake trade request from the Los Angeles Lakers — there’s nothing stopping someone from simply creating a new account March 8 to pay $ and do the same trick again.
It’s worth noting that although the paid “verified” accounts appear to have the same blue tick as the more traditional verified accounts, Twitter actually distinguishes between the two verification ticks. When you click the checkmark on an account bio page, a message will appear explaining why the account was verified.
Pro tip for the Twitter verification madness… Click the checkmark to verify the account.
Notice the difference between this fake Adam Schefter and the real NBC Sports Chicago. If you click the check mark, you will learn why they are verified. pic.twitter.com/ydrd2zbTkG
— Michael Allardyce (@mikedyce) November 9, 2022
To be clear, fake Twitter accounts impersonating celebrities are certainly not a new phenomenon. Ballsack Sports – which is now a verified account thanks to the new Twitter policy – has become notorious in this regard, having garnered over 200,000 Twitter followers in recent years, mostly by tweeting fake quotes and messages.
But now that these fake and parodic accounts can do the same thing with a “verified” blue tick on their name, the game has changed a bit.