Fans got excited last week when a five-year-old Twitter account, @itsmorrissey, woke up and started tweeting. "Hello. Testing, 1, 2, 3. Planet Earth, are you there? One can only hope...," read the first tweet from the account. An official Twitter verified check mark made it appear that it was indeed the former lead singer of The Smiths talking.
Unfortunately, something was off. Two days later, the 54-year-old singer surfaced to distance himself from the account, saying he has no presence on social media and no plans to start one. The singer sent a statement to the fan zine True To You:
I would like to stress that I do not have either a Twitter or a Facebook account. I gather that a Twitter account has been opened in my name - as 'It's Morrissey' - but it is NOT Morrissey. I do not know who has opened this recent Twitter account, but please be aware that it is bogus. That's, of course, if you should remotely care.
Shortly afterward, his label Harvest Records announced it was taking over and retiring the account "to protect it from interlopers." The account has now been deleted.
Twitter did not respond to questions about how the fake account got verified. It's not the first time something like this has happened, however. Rupert Murdoch's third wife Wendi Deng was the victim of a similar situation when Twitter accidentally verified the wrong handle.
There are just over a million verified accounts on Twitter, but the company is still refining its process for verification. Usually Twitter requires a user to link to their Twitter bio from an official website or use a company email address. Twitter has also occasionally verified people in groups and is currently trying to get players from all the World Cup soccer teams on the platform.