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New Twitter Verification Creating Slippery Slope for Media, Athletes

  • For $8 per month, users can get the same blue check mark that was reserved for public figures.
  • Verification is part of a revamped Twitter Blue service launched on Wednesday.
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Hours after Twitter opened up its verification system to anyone willing to pay $8, new accounts with blue check marks popped up impersonating athlete and sports media accounts.  

The verification badge was meant, in part, to limit users being duped. But after Elon Musk led an effort to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, the Twitter Blue service was revamped and launched Wednesday, which allowed anyone with a credit card and an email address to get the blue check. 

It didn’t take long for users to game the system before getting suspended, even as most were labeled “parody” in their profiles. 

  • Somebody impersonating LeBron James wrote that the Lakers star was requesting a trade. 
  • A fake Adam Schefter account tweeted that the Raiders had fired head coach Josh McDaniels. 
  • Another user pretended to be Aroldis Chapman and tweeted they had re-signed with the Yankees. 
  • Among the most grim was somebody pretending to the Steelers who posted the death of a player who is very much alive.

Musk told advertisers (per Axios’ Sara Fischer) that the new Twitter Blue feature that includes the same checkmarks celebrities and journalists have had for years is about a “leveling of [the] playing field.”

“[It] will be less special to have [a] blue check mark but I think that’s a good thing,” Musk said. “Isn’t that what we believe in? One person, one vote.”

Musk added that Twitter would be “extremely vigorous about eliminating deception.”

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