No matter how you feel about Twitter, it’s safe to say that most people have become invested in the slow-motion train wreck there since Elon Musk took over. Firing most employees? Check. Removing work-from-home provisions only to lock everybody out of the office? Also, check. And with $8, guess what you can get? A check.
As your regular Twitter user with several accounts for several different reasons, I’ve seen many checks. I’ve spent far too long clicking through pages each time I find something interesting to figure out if the author is really who they claim to be, thanks to Twitter Blue.
Verified (But Not Really)
’If somebody manages to be particularly convincing, like the user purporting to be Eli Lilly and tanking their stock prices by‘‘announcing’ insulin was free, there are repercussions. It makes sense that Elon Musk paused the scheme for a while when the scope of the financial hit became known.‘If somebody manages to be particularly convincing, like the user purporting to be Eli Lilly and tanking their stock prices by ‘announcing’ insulin was free, there are repercussions. It makes sense that Elon Musk paused the scheme for a while when the scope of the financial hit became known.
However, these last few days, I’ve seen new checkmarks. Gold ones denoting official businesses (no need to wonder why they changed the color of that one), grey for government figures, and blue for the rest of us. Still, the blue ones are a bit confusing, some claiming they’re verifying legacy accounts, others for entertainers, and some for Twitter Blue. So, despite the colors for businesses and governments, there’s not much we can do to verify that the information being shared is genuine. Unless, of course, you click through the profile and find the subscription to Twitter Blue.
But in a world of screenshots, some people can’t be bothered to hunt down the original. If they do, there’s no guarantee that the account won’t have disappeared by the time readers try to verify it.
It’s Not Catfishing If They’re Verified, Right?
Whilst the colored checkmarks are a good start, I still think Twitter Blue needs to be distinguishable at a glance. Things were bad even before it was released. People were getting push notifications from accounts claiming to be Donald Trump, thanking Elon for unbanning them. And then, when they had enough engagement, they shared links to t-shirt scams. Tens of thousands of followers before the nominal charge for verification.
Just a few sales can make the entire operation pay off, no matter how fast people are being banned. Like a Hydra in the digital age, each ban is met by two brand-new accounts. It’s hard to imagine a way to solve the problem whilst keeping the service available.
There must be a limit to how many company stocks can be tanked before this changes. After Eli Lilly’s stock tanked, leading them to pull ads, it won’t take long for us to see changes. The system could easily become something worthwhile for independent journalists and freelancers, but only if Twitter starts to listen. For now, the ever-present danger of misinformation and misleading accounts has forced many users to step back from the app.