The recent changes made to how Twitter verifies accounts appear to be backfiring just hours after being rolled out as impersonators have managed to bypass the firm’s verification systems and take a hold of some big household names.
According to a report from The Verge, bad actors have impersonated video game companies such as Nintendo and Valve and celebrities and sports figures including LeBron James.
In addition, a parody account impersonating Jesus Christ has also managed to get a blue ribbon. As a result, the new system is being mocked by those who are against Elon Musk’s latest measures due to its inability to keep Twitter safe and free from scammers and fraudsters.
Distinguishing Official Accounts from Those Verified via Subscription is Difficult
The chaos appears to be prompted by Twitter’s failure are distinguishing accounts that have been verified via Twitter Blue and those that the company has screened and vetted as the “official” accounts of public figures and companies.
For users to determine if a verified account is an official one or just a Blue account that has gone through verification they have to click on the blue ribbon as there is a disclosure that clarifies how the verification was obtained.
With most users being unaware of these changes, confusion has taken over the platform and impersonators are taking advantage of it. Moreover, the initial feature planned to make the distinction between the two types of verifications clear was removed by Musk only hours after it was rolled out.
The founder of Tesla (TSLA) replied to a comment from Marques Brownlee – a YouTube influencer – that he “killed” the new “Official” label added to the characters that had gone through Twitter’s initial verification process and further stated that a blue check will ultimately be “the great leveler”.
I just killed it
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 9, 2022
Twitter Appears to be Benefitting from the Chaos
The implementation of half-baked features by Musk is causing all sorts of chaos across the platforms and the issues have probably been exacerbated by the fact that he laid off thousands of engineers and product staff.
Some developers with experience with back-end systems such as those that power Twitter have argued that Musk’s decision to let go so many people may lead to glitches, service instability, and even a complete shutdown of the platform if the coding is not handled carefully.
Musk was expecting to roll out the new Twitter Blue this Monday but was reportedly pressured to delay the launch until after the United States’ midterm elections passed as security agencies feared that bad actors will manage to use their verified Twitter handles to spread fake news and misinform the public during the voting process.
Musk attempted to reassure the community that the latest chaos is alright and may actually be expected in a recent tweet. “Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t”, the billionaire tweeted yesterday.
Perhaps counterintuitively, Twitter’s recent turmoil has benefitted both the platform and its rivals. According to a tweet from Musk, the platform’s usage was at an all-time high back on 7 November.
Moreover, the company’s sales team was handed over materials to address advertisers’ top concerns that stated that Twitter added 15 million new monetizable daily active users (MDAUs) since Musk took over the helm.
Meanwhile, a Twitter-like micro-blogging platform called Mastodon has doubled its user base since the billionaire completed the acquisition of the company founded by Jack Dorsey as users appear to be testing some other waters in the meantime in case the bird app turns into a wasteland.
For Musk, the top priority at the moment appears to be monetization, possibly as he has taken a sizable amount of debt – reportedly more than $6 billion – to finance his acquisition.
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