Skip to main content

How am I supposed to mark myself as parody if I can’t change my screen name, Elon?

How am I supposed to mark myself as parody if I can’t change my screen name, Elon?


Cue the fail whale!

Share this story

The Twitter logo on the company’s SF headquarters.
Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Update November 8th, 2:11PM ET: Twitter seems to have fixed this issue, but our original story follows below.


I can’t change my screen name on Twitter. I can change my bio. But not my screen name. So although I was helpfully trying to describe myself as “Elizabeth Lopatto (parody)” that simply wasn’t possible.

I received the error message “fail” when trying to change my screen name on Twitter. This is a screenshot of that message
TFW Twitter is broken

Now I hear Elon Musk fired about 50 percent of Twitter employees (though apparently he’s trying to hire some of them back). I also hear that lots of people have been changing their screen names to “Elon Musk” in order to get excommunicated. According to David Sacks, an investor in Musk’s deal to take Twitter private, “Twitter’s longstanding policy is that the account name must indicate a parody account.” Unfortunately, I can’t comply.

Anyway Sacks, who is part of a “war room” of advisors helping Musk run Twitter, also says that “impersonation is not free speech.” I am wondering if this is because Musk is upset that he is being mocked by the users of the site he bought! After all, just yesterday, he tweeted, “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.” He also tweeted, “Any name change at all will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark.” So if I were to change my display name to my nickname — yes, you can call me Liz — I guess I wouldn’t be verified anymore?

A second failure message on Twitter’s website, reading “Deny” when trying to edit a profile
Can’t change my nickname to Liz, either!

I dunno man.

I have no idea what’s causing this problem but I’m not the only one experiencing it. My coworker Alex Cranz can’t change hers either. Neither can Jay Peters, Tom Warren, or Sean Hollister. However, our coworker Mitchell Clark can! Cranz, Peters, Warren, Hollister and I are all verified. Clark isn’t.


I’ve emailed Twitter’s PR department but I think there isn’t much of it left. Will update if I hear anything though.