Twitter Blue verification already being abused as users impersonate big names

Twitter verification mark next to phone with appTwitter / Unsplash

Twitter has changed its verification policy, allowing any account which signs up to Twitter Blue for the updated price to receive the coveted checkmark. However, some users are abusing it to impersonate big companies like Nintendo and Valve, and even sports stars like LeBron James.

One of Elon Musk’s big propositions after buying Twitter for $44 billion was to rid the social media platform of bots and open up verification to all humans

Enter the new Twitter Blue, enveloping the verification process into a paid purchase of $8 a month. A subscription to Twitter’s premium service once offered exclusive features as well as some early access, but now it’s a core tenet of the verification process.

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Anyone can sign up for Twitter Blue and receive the blue checkmark next to their name. If you open up a user’s profile it’ll distinguish whether it was handed out before November to a “notable” individual or group, or just someone splashing some cash.

However because it looks the exact same, some users are already abusing the new verification system to impersonate big brands and names.

In the gaming space, Nintendo and Valve have both been targeted. A fake ‘nlntendoofus’ (note the L) account tweeted out a picture of Mario flipping the finger, with branding completely identical to the real Nintendo of America account.

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Similarly, the account ‘valvesotfware’ (note the misspelling of software) tweeted out a fake announcement of a Ricochet sequel, one of Valve’s earlier titles released in 2000. 

It’s not just brand accounts being targeted though. People have swooped up similar-looking handles to sports stars like LeBron James, using it to tweet out a trade request from the Lakers. Of course, it was fake. 

Twitter has banned the accounts mentioned, and new CEO Elon Musk, who isn’t immune to these impersonators, has vowed anyone impersonating anyone of note with Twitter Blue will be permanently suspended. The platform is yet to revert the change as more copycats crop up.

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Musk added: “Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.”

The rollout of Twitter Blue’s verification add-on is only available in specific countries, and only for iOS users at the time of publishing. A global rollout will take place over the coming weeks.