Fake Twitter accounts: Blue tick still possible for fake accounts

After the chaos surrounding the first release of the blue tick on Twitter, it was revised again. But the verification still doesn’t work.

Two months after a fake account by a US politician on Twitter caused trouble for Twitter boss Elon Musk, which triggered a revision of the verification process, the US journalist responsible for it was able to create such a fake again.

As Geoffrey Fowler points out in the US newspaper, this time the process was not significantly more difficult, showing that Twitter continues to fail to understand the value of verification and the dangers of disinformation. For his second success, all he needed was a 90-day-old account – which was renamed – a phone number, a credit card, and an email address.

The fact that he requested verification for the account renamed @SenatorEdMarkey from a Gmail address was not a problem for Twitter. The social network never asked him to verify his identity. Without being asked any questions, the blue Twitter tick finally appeared on his wrong account. This reads: “This account is verified because it is subscribed to Twitter Blue”. Real Senator Ed Markey’s account says, “This account was verified in the old system. It may (but not necessarily) be worth noting.” This hint doesn’t necessarily sound more confidence-inspiring.

Before Elon Musk took over Twitter, the blue tick next to the profile name served as confirmation that the named person or organization actually controlled the account. Musk had criticized that after the takeover as nonsense and said it was a system of “princes and pawns”. Instead, under his leadership, Twitter integrated the blue tick into the “Twitter Blue” subscription; since then, the service has been earning money with the award.

When first introduced, celebrity and brand accounts were spoofed and those affected feared for their reputations. Musk then announced changes, but Fowler now says the underlying problem has not been mitigated.

“It’s an absolute joke that Elon Musk, who boasts of being a tech entrepreneur, can’t set up a working verification system,” the Washington Post quoted Senator Markey’s reaction as saying – “except that users aren’t laughing.” Twitter recently introduced a gray tick for government representatives and a yellow tick for companies.

For politicians like Markey, there is no sign in the system that proves the authenticity of the associated accounts at a glance. Musk had claimed that accounts were checked by hand before verification, but Fowler now has doubts about that. In view of the mass layoffs on Twitter, it is also questionable who should take over. Accounts impersonating someone else would be blocked, Musk said, but if that’s not checked, the announcement will be in vain. The fake account @SenatorEdMarkey was only suspended from Twitter after the article was published.


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