The acquisition of social media platform Twitter by Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk has led to lots of ideas to change the platform with some already implemented.
One plan to get rid of the frequent scams and bots was to charge for verified blue check mark accounts, something that might already be backfiring.
What Happened: Musk took over Twitter in a $44 billion acquisition, giving him control of being able to change the social media platform however he saw fit.
Musk announced the blue verified check marks, which often showed someone was a prominent figure in the news and media or a notable person, could be bought for $8 per month as a subscription service called Twitter Blue, along with other perks.
With the blue check marks already rolled out, several accounts have bought the feature and pretended to be someone they’re not, an issue Musk had put an emphasis on fighting over the years.
Many in the sports world know ESPN reporter Adam Schefter is one of the key sources for reporting trades, injuries or rumors. A fake but verified with a blue check mark account tweeted a fake rumor on Wednesday.
An account with the handle @adamschefternot had the same profile picture and the name Adam Schefter. The account posted Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels had been fired.
“Josh McDaniels is out as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, sources tell ESPN,” the account tweeted.
The Raiders have struggled and are 2-6 on the season in the NFL, ranking last in the AFC West and second to last in the AFC overall. Previously an offensive coordinator, McDaniels has a 13-23 record as a head coach with the Denver Broncos and Raiders.
The rumor of a firing of McDaniels didn’t seem that surprising and many people believed it and ran with it. The tweet had more than 10,000 engagements before the account was suspended.
Another big tweet that came from a blue check mark account that pretended to be NBA superstar LeBron James. Using the handle @kingjamez, the account used the name LeBron James, had the same profile picture and looked similar to many who didn’t look close enough.
The fake James account said the NBA star was requesting a trade from the Lakers and implied that a move might happen back to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. The Los Angeles Lakers are 2-9 on the season, ranking second worst in the Western Conference.
James is averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists on the season, compared to career averages of 27.1, 7.5 and 7.4, respectively.
The tweet from the account again likely seemed believable because James and the Lakers are having a rough season and James had previously played for the Cavaliers.
The James account was later suspended.
Why It’s Important: Musk has put a lot of time and effort into changing Twitter. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO recently said he now works 120 hours a week between his three CEO jobs, instead of his previous normal workload of 70 to 80 hours per week.
“I wake up, work, go to sleep, work, do that 7 days a week,” Musk said.
Musk added that he would “permanently suspend” accounts on Twitter impersonating others without making it clear that they are parodies. Both the Schefter and James accounts had "parody" in the Twitter bios but might not have done a good enough job of highlighting they weren’t the person in question.
The Twitter CEO suspended several accounts, including that of comedian Kathy Griffin, for pretending to be him.
Twitter account @tropofarmer also pointed to continued NFT scams with an account with a blue check mark pretending to be Yuga Labs co-founder Gordon Goner and highlighting a mint with a likely phishing link.
In just a short time of being live, blue check marks on Twitter have shown to be trusted by many, but likely should not be trusted.
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