Twitter Blue Subscription Unavailable After Rise In Fake Accounts: Report

Twitter Blue Subscription Unavailable After Rise In Fake Accounts: Report

Twitter’s relaunched premium service, which grants blue check “verification” labels to anyone for $8/month was unavailable on Friday as the microblogging site was flooded with imposter accounts it itself had approved, as reported by the news agency AP.

The latest move caps a chaotic start for the new subscription service, one of the changes made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk after taking over the company two weeks ago. Before Musk’s takeover, a “blue check” was granted to celebrities and Journalists verified by the platform. The “blue check” is given with the aim of preventing impersonation. Now the service can be availed by anyone for $8 a month.

There are now two “blue checks” categories that look identical. One category includes the accounts verified before Elon Musk took purchased the microblogging site and took over, and notes that “This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category”. The other notes that the account subscribes to Twitter Blue.

The new service was severely affected by impostors – with users parodying everyone from Pope Francis to George W Bush. The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co was forced to apologize after an impostor account tweeted that insulin was free. Nintendo, Lockheed Martin, Musk’s own Tesla, and SpaceX have also impersonated as well as the accounts of various professional sports figures, AP reported.

For all the advertisers who have put their business with Twitter on hold, fake accounts could be the last straw. Elon Musk’s decision of laying off half its workforce and triggering high-profile departures has raised questions about its ability to survive.

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“Too many corrupt legacy Blue ‘verification’ checkmarks exist, so no choice but to remove legacy Blue in coming months,” Musk tweeted on Thursday. Twitter Blue was not available on the platform’s online version, which said signup was only possible on the iPhone version. But the iPhone version did not offer Twitter Blue as an option.

Twitter once again started adding gray “official” labels to some prominent accounts. It had rolled out the labels earlier this week. The labels returned on Thursday night for some accounts – including Twitter’s own, as well as companies like Amazon, Nike, and Coca-Cola, after which many vanished again.

Celebrities also did not appear to be getting the “official” label. The impostors can cause big problems, even if they’re taken down quickly. They have created “overwhelming reputational risk for placing advertising investments on the platform,” AP quoted Lou Paskalis, longtime marketing, and media executive and former Bank of America head of global media as saying.

With the fake “verified” brand accounts, “a picture emerges of a platform in disarray that no media professional would risk their career by continuing to make advertising investments on, and no governance apparatus or senior executive would condone if they did,” he added. As soon as the paid verification feature rolled out, many fake accounts of famous personalities like former US President Donal Trump surfaced on the application. Some verified accounts even impersonated the gaming character ‘Super Mario’ and Lakers player LeBron James.

Responding to the issue, Elon Musk tweeted that any account trying to impersonate someone else would be disabled unless they declare it’s a parody account.

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(With AP Inputs)