It’s day one of Elon Musk’s “Verification for All” public launch (as long as you give me $8), and it’s going exactly as many predicted. Hours after day one all kinds of accounts trying to deceive people or spread misinformation are popping up and this is especially awful for sports fans.
It started funnily enough when Ballsack Sports, the infamous sports parody account, verified its “outlet,” which was hilarious at how sublimely ridiculous this whole process is. The account regularly makes funny and creative fake sports quotes that sound legit enough to fool major media outlets. Well, THAT is an example of parody, and it took advantage of the concept of media companies convincing themselves to be the first in a story instead of being right — or even questioning for a second if “Ballsack Sports” would be a real page.
Then we have stuff like that.
Under Twitter’s current rules, shit like the one above is allowed because the account states in the description that it’s a “parody,” which allows circumventing the platform’s impersonation ban. To be perfectly clear, this tweet is not a parody at all. Nothing about it attempts to achieve comedic effect, and there’s no attempt to overdo Adam Schefter’s writing, both of which are requisites of comedy.
It’s designed to deceive and misinform, which isn’t new to Twitter. That’s maybe the most offensive part about it: it’s just so dull and uncreative. Fake Schefter accounts have existed for years, deceiving people who don’t check the tick or check the messages. The difference now is that the tweet pictured gives absolutely no reference to the outside world or the username @AdamSchefterNOT, which would let people know it’s not the actual ESPN NFL insider.
This didn’t just happen to Schefter. We also had a fake LeBron.
And a fake Aroldis Chapman.
There was also a Connor McDavid.
From the looks of it, Twitter is playing with these accounts in quick succession to ban those who don’t clearly say “parody,” but Adam Schefter’s account is still tweeting as of 4:10 p.m. ET — and getting plenty of retweets from people, who don’t know any better. Trust me, it just got less fun and less creative along the way. Tend to be people with one note jokes that can’t really spin and get funny… who would have thought?
So far the damage has been pretty harmless, but it’s a matter of time before we start getting some really heinous things being tweeted by one of these “parody” accounts because of course that would always lead there. The whole concept of paid verification was so dumb that destroying the experience of the entire platform had a cost of $8 per user, and we’re watching it fade into oblivion in real time.
Twitter’s “blue tick” began and was intended to be a way to easily identify who they claimed to be. For example, I’m verified on Twitter – there’s nothing special about that. However, a few years ago we were asked if we wanted verified accounts for security reasons, and I did. It required me to change the email address I originally used to log into my account to an official address verified by my employer and Twitter, and (at the time) my full real name as my account name to use, and a headshot showing my face.
Now all you need is $8. It was never about dominating others, as Musk suggested, but simply about finding out if someone you trust is who they say they are. However, if you tell people something is exclusive, even if it’s not – they’re dying to have it, too, and if you put a price tag on it there’s a good chance you’ll make some money off it.
That’s not cute. It’s not harmless fun. These accounts are just plain annoying, and if this continues, they’ll be annoying enough to dissuade athletes and big-name personalities from using the platform — because who wants a headache waiting for Twitter to ban a fake impersonation account is the norm? When people we want to follow leave, there is no incentive to stay. Then good luck selling ad space to a few bots and joke accounts because all the adults have moved on.