Twitter verification used to mean “Twitter has checked you are who you say you are.” As of this morning, the only thing it means is that you’re coughing up eight dollars to join the club because Elon Musk decided that anyone can buy a “verified” check mark without any verification at all.
In the hours since, some hilarity has ensued.
Jesus Christ, an existing parody account on Twitter, was also able to get verified:
Our sister site SB Nation is following what’s happening to Sports Twitter right now: Aroldis Chapman, Connor McDavid, and others are being impersonated as well. Snopes even felt the need to run an article about how the Raiders’ Josh McDaniels wasn’t actually fired.
Twitter is already taking action on some of these accounts: fake Nintendo, fake Trump, fake Valve, and fake LeBron have had their accounts suspended, for example. (Mario was up for roughly two hours, Valve for even longer.) Others are still around. The company says it is “aggressively going after impersonation and deception.” But it seems like it’ll be a game of whack-a-mole.
While Musk has claimed that this new system will deter spammers, it’s now crystal clear how it can empower fake news — though users can still check to see why an account was verified if they click or tap on the badge instead of blindly retweeting.
Twitter also briefly attempted a two-tier check mark system this morning, but Musk “killed it” after just a few hours.