The mess, in a few days. Faced with the proliferation of spoofed accounts, Twitter reintroduced, on Friday November 11, a badge “official” to certify certain profiles and suspended its paid authentication system. The certification, formalized by a small blue badge, makes it possible to ensure that the account of a personality is indeed his and to avoid identity theft. The previous system was challenged by Elon Musk, new owner of the social network.
Franceinfo returns to these changes which notably caused the fall on the stock market of a pharmaceutical laboratory.
1Elon Musk launches “Twitter Blue”, to make certification pay
Since his arrival at the head of Twitter on October 28, Elon Musk has been pushing for the implementation of a new authentication system, billed nearly 8 dollars (7.70 euros) per month. Since November 10, “Twitter Blue” has allowed anyone to obtain the blue badge, a guarantee of authenticity, until now reserved for organizations and people who have proven their identity to the social network or have a certain notoriety.
The billionaire justifies this choice by his desire to abolish “the current system of lords and peasants, between those who have the blue tick and those who do not”. This novelty is above all a means of diversifying the platform’s sources of income, while several advertisers have temporarily withdrawn from Twitter, while waiting to see how the moderation of content, which is crucial for their brands, evolves.
2Identity theft is on the rise
Unsurprisingly, this novelty has been accompanied by an outbreak of accounts posing as those of celebrities or large companies. There is a way to tell the difference between a user who has paid for the Twitter Blue service and a personality who already had the button before the launch of the service, but it requires additional action, which the majority of Internet users do not do.
The basic trick now being to click on the “verified” badge on a person’s profile to see if they got their certification by subscribing to Twitter Blue – tedious, but good fake detector. pic.twitter.com/qVhe5OAfwe
— Michaël Szadkowski (Official) (@szadkowski_m) November 10, 2022
Fake LeBron James or Joe Biden were thus able to pose as the basketball star or the President of the United States. We also saw Super Mario flipping the middle finger on a fake Nintendo account.
the new Twitter verification system is going well pic.twitter.com/7eH2H7o24W
—Tom Warren (@tomwarren) November 9, 2022
Parody accounts by the names of former leaders Tony Blair and George Bush have dwelt on the war in Iraq.
A ‘verified’ account, purporting to be former US president George Bush, tweeted: “I miss killing Iraqis”
— Elliott King #DigitalMarketing (@elliott_king) November 11, 2022
A fake British Petroleum account, an oil company, also tweeted “Just because we’re killing the planet doesn’t mean we won’t miss it”a reference to global warming.
4. Classic British Petroleum pic.twitter.com/3aJZe1mvAR
— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@JoshuaPHilll) November 11, 2022
3This mess causes economic damage and political complaints
The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly had to apologize on Thursday after the success of a tweet issued with an account in its name, displayed as certified, which promised free insulin. The action fell 5% on the stock market, before rising slightly, without returning to the starting level.
Did Twitter Blue tweet just cost Eli Lilly $LLY trillion?
— Rafael Shimunov is on Mastodon (@rafaelshimunov) November 11, 2022
The American political class was also moved by the situation. Senator Edward J. Markey wrote to Elon Musk asking him how a reporter from the washington post could have created a fake account in his name. “Selling the truth is dangerous and unacceptable. Twitter needs to explain how it happened and how it’s going to make sure it doesn’t happen again”he got carried away.
HAS @washingtonpost reporter was able to create a verified account impersonating me—I’m asking for answers from @elonmusk who is putting profits over people and his debt over stopping disinformation. Twitter must explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again. pic.twitter.com/R4r7p6mduP
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) November 11, 2022
Thursday evening, the American competition agency (FTC) sent the social network a rare warning. “We are following recent developments at Twitter with great concern. No CEO or company is above the law”said a spokesperson.
4An official badge is deployed, withdrawn, redeployed, and then withdrawn again
In parallel with “Twitter Blue”, the social network discreetly launched the “Official” badge on Tuesday. Accounts like that of the elected American Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of Pope Francis in English or even of the controversial rapper Kanye West thus received the badge “Official” before it disappeared.
Wednesday morning, the billionaire announces that he has had this mention removed. Shortly after, the director of products in development, Esther Crawford assures that the “Official” badge is indeed “activated”. “We’re just starting with governments and commercial organisations. What (Elon Musk) mentioned was the fact that we don’t give the ‘Official’ badge to individuals at this time”, she says. Friday, one of the company accounts announces the return of the “Officiel” label, but it no longer appears on Saturday afternoon.
5The Twitter Blue subscription system is suspended
Since Friday, it no longer seems possible to subscribe to “Twitter Blue” on the site or via the mobile application. An internal memo, published by some US media, explains that the service has been suspended “to solve usurpation problems”. “Please note that Twitter is going to do a lot of silly things in the coming months. We’ll keep what works and change what doesn’t.”warned billionaire Elon Musk.
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