As pretty much everyone is aware of by now, Elon Musk plans to roll out an $8-a-month subscription that allows anyone to be verified on Twitter. Obviously, this means anyone who currently has the blue tick but doesn't want to cough up will lose it, potentially leaving them open to impersonation.
Now, some users are making the most of the last few days of free verification – and impersonating Elon Musk. Some of these accounts are even being banned, leading many to accuse Musk of hypocrisy given his previous vocal support for free speech on the platform.
When you search for Elon Musk on Twitter, the first account will obviously be the real deal. You know, the guy currently having a meltdown because he's struggling to make money from the unprofitable company he bought for $44 billion. But just below that, you'll see dozens of fake Elon's, some even copying his profile picture for added authenticity.
One such account is run by @ChrisWarcraft. Changing their bio, profile pic, and username to match Musk's, they're using the opportunity to paint an unflattering image of the Tesla CEO. If it's even possible to outdo him on that front this week.
@ChrisWarcraft has since been hit with a suspension, but @jephjacques has picked up the torch. Opting for a profile picture of Musk taken during his bald era, they've managed to avoid the ban hammer so far.
Interestingly, the most convincing fake account has actually shown why impersonation is so problematic on Twitter. User @eIonmusk – who swapped the "l" in Elon's name out for a capital "i", was suspended recently, likely for impersonating Musk. However, when this was spotted by other users, many assumed it was really him, and spread false stories of how a laid-off Twitter employee banned his account as they left the office. In truth, workers seemed to have their IT access revoked before they were even told of their termination. But it proves that fake news such as this could easily spread if verification is open to anyone who pays.
In any case, Musk's Twitter is coming down hard on those having some fun with this. Even accounts that are open about being a parody and not the real deal are being suspended. So much for comedy being legal again, I guess.
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