Twitter Blue Verification has been rolled back mere 48 hours since its launch

Twitter Blue Verification has been rolled back mere 48 hours since its launch

Elon Musk’s attempt to democratise Twitter verification only lasted two days. Twitter has temporarily suspended new Twitter Blue signups after the site was taken over by verified trolls. According to Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer, the firm informed employees that memberships were on pause to “help resolve impersonation concerns.” It turns out that paid verification was just as bad as almost everyone expected.

At first, it seemed like Twitter had a strategy in place to solve the impersonation problem. It established a distinct “official” emblem that will be affixed to “government accounts, commercial firms, corporate partners, significant media outlets, publishers, and select public personalities” just before the launch of the new Twitter Blue. But Musk swiftly changed his mind, and the proposal was cancelled only hours after it was unveiled. Paid verification went live without a label on Wednesday.

Surprisingly, things began to go wrong very quickly. A bogus Nintendo account shared a picture of Mario blowing off everyone. A phoney Tony Blair retweeted a phoney George Bush. A legitimate Pope John Paul II account tweeted conspiracy ideas in response to a verified Martin Luther account, which was responding to a verified Pope Francis impostor. Crypto scams were posted by an account impersonating Twitter’s official @verified account. LeBron’s impersonator indicated he wanted to be traded.

Twitter replied by suspending Blue subscriptions for new accounts, although this had no impact on the flood of verified harassment. Fake accounts arose in order for impersonators to engage with one another.

One of the most prominent instances was a verified Eli Lilly account tweeting “insulin is free today,” prompting the genuine Eli Lilly to apologise for the “misleading” post since their insulin is not free. Then, another false Eli Lilly apologised for the real Eli Lilly’s apologies. An account that seemed to be a Twitter ad salesperson begged Musk to delete the bogus Eli Lilly accounts. The bogus Eli Lilly accounts were both removed, but the tweets caused the drug company’s shares to plummet.

Musk reacted by saying that spoof accounts should be properly tagged. “Tricking people is not acceptable,” he said on Twitter. Some made feeble efforts to comply. A bogus Tesla account called @Teslareal wrote “parody” on its profile’s header picture but proceeded to harass Musk (the account is now suspended).

Meanwhile, a number of radicals and conspiracy theorists paid for verification, including — ironically — Jason Kessler, whose 2017 Twitter verification resulted in a nearly four-year “halt” of verification. According to Media Matters, several of these newly verified right-wing accounts were already utilising them to spread disinformation. According to The Washington Post, a verified account impersonating Arizona candidate for governor Kari Lake tweeted that she had won her race even though it had not yet been called.

Twitter Blue memberships were no longer accessible on Twitter’s app or website by Friday morning. It’s also uncertain when it will re-launch. And, only two days after Musk said that the blue check would be “the great leveller,” Twitter revealed that the grey “official” badge will be reinstated in order to “fight impersonation.”

Despite the repeated policy changes and a deluge of impersonators, Musk remained positive. “Some epically hilarious tweets,” he remarked. “Hit an all-time high in terms of active users today,” he said.

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