The ridiculous but important Twitter check mark fiasco, explained

“Verification used to be a way for users to know that a profile belonged to the person or organization it purported to be. It was reserved for the accounts that would need such an indicator, including those of famous people, companies, and journalists, who got blue check marks appended to their profiles to make that verification easy for everyone to see.

It has now become a symbol of who is willing to pay $8 a month for “Twitter Blue.” Or, in the case of organizations, a symbol of who is willing to pay at least $1,000 a month.”

“Musk framed the move as a way to open up Twitter’s blue checks, which to some had become a symbol of unfair and much-desired privilege that was bestowed upon people they didn’t like.”

“the core problem remains that Twitter is no longer verifying the identity of users who get a blue check, nor is it a symbol of authenticity. Anyone who has a phone number and a credit card can appear “verified,” though Twitter supposedly vets accounts to ensure they’re not pretending to be someone else when they initially sign up, and temporarily takes their blue check away if they change their names or profile photos.”

“Twitter began verifying accounts in 2009 to settle a lawsuit from famous baseball guy Tony La Russa over a fake Tony La Russa account. Back then, it was relatively easy to squat on a famous person’s name and make a fake account pretending to be them. That’s why Donald Trump had to go with “@realDonaldTrump” when he joined Twitter; someone had already taken @donaldtrump and made it a Trump parody account. Tina Fey says she’s never been on Twitter, but a lot of people sure thought @TinaFey (now @NotTinaFey) was her. And then there are the many, many Fake Will Ferrell Twitter accounts. That said, like most things Twitter, verification isn’t perfect: Author Cormac McCarthy’s fake account was somehow verified as recently as 2021.”

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