Twitter chaos after wave of blue tick impersonations

Image credit: BBC

A recent wave of “blue-tick” accounts, which are paid to impersonate well-known persons and brands, has caused turmoil and confusion on Twitter.

Using the identities of politicians, celebrities, well-known organisations, and enterprises, false “confirmed” profiles started to appear on the site on Thursday.

Twitter suspended several of them, but the company’s erratic answers to the issue added further to the uncertainty.

In the past, experts have expressed concern that the new Twitter Blue membership service, which lets users pay £6.99 ($7.99) per month for a blue tick and was launched by the new CEO, Elon Musk, will be immediately misused by dishonest people and con artists, weakening trust in the website.

The problem with bogus blue-tick accounts expanded after the feature went live on Wednesday.

Blue Ticks suspended its major brand accounts, including those for Apple, Nintendo, BP, and Chiquita. Fake accounts that were deleted also included those of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In one case, the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake, stated on Twitter that she was surrendering to her Democratic opponent, even though votes are still being counted in the tight race. After several hours, Twitter removed the fake tweet and account.

How Mr Musk and his recently acquired platform intend to address the blue-tick impersonation issue, in the long run, is currently unknown.

Although there have been instances of verified accounts temporarily misleadingly changing their names on the network, these attempts are incredibly rare.

Experts are worried that the harm caused by a lack of trust in Twitter’s verification system could manifest itself in situations like mass shootings, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters, where Twitter is frequently used by local authorities, police, emergency services, and journalists for accurate information and advice.