Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion just two weeks ago and he’s already made a complete mess of the social media company. Advertisers are fleeing, literal neo-Nazis are getting verified, and impersonator accounts are running rampant. And Musk needs to figure out a way to make $1.2 billion in debt payments each year or risk the company going bankrupt.
Musk is clearly just trying to change Twitter based on vibes, no grand plan in sight. The “official” verification badge has even returned for some reason, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of accounts that spent $8 to get verified from pretending to be governments, politicians, celebrities, and brands.
There’s a fake SpaceX account tweeting about its lucrative government contracts, a fake Kari Lake account saying that she lost her election in Arizona, and a fake Apple account trying to sell literal air, just to name a few.
“Going forward, accounts engaged in parody must include ‘parody’ in their name, not just in bio,” the real Musk tweeted on Thursday night.
“To be more precise, accounts doing parody impersonations. Basically, tricking people is not ok,” Musk continued.
Musk has previously called himself a “free speech absolutist,” a concept which has clearly been chucked out the window at Twitter. But his desire to “democratize” the checkmark has led to countless impersonator accounts that are all fun and games until the lawsuits start. Believe it or not, Twitter only introduced verification after it was sued over a fake account for Tony La Russa, the White Sox manager, in 2009.
Today, we have a collection of 15 fake accounts that have spent their $8 to get verified and have been causing chaos on Twitter. But we can say with some confidence there are way more fake accounts than the ones we’ve identified here. And it’s unlikely to stop until Musk abandons his plan to give anyone with $8 a checkmark.