Hours after Elon Musk's Twitter rolled out his new demanded feature allowing anyone to get "verified" status on the social network by paying $8 per month, the feature is already resulting in the fraudulent impersonation of companies and individuals. And that's exactly what everyone on the planet predicted would happen, so we can presume it was indeed Musk's intention.
Garbage fire, meet chemical fire. It'll only take $8 now to make a mush of whatever you want to. And there aren't, to anyone's knowledge, any safeguards to keep it from happening.
That's not Nintendo of America giving you the finger. That's ... a new Nintendo of America. But you'll only learn that if you look in the right place.
That account is now suspended—but not before it was made famous.
The Nintendo example comes to us via Brandon Friedman, who also drew attention to new user "LeBron James."
Elon made a splash not too many days ago when Twitter began suspending comedians and other verified users who had changed their display names to "Elon Musk" to mock the ridiculousness of his proposed scheme. Musk lashed out at them—but they were right and Musk, as usual, was caught flat-footed.
The results were immediate: impersonations of prominent tweeters. Just as everyone warned.
The checkmark may indeed quickly become the hallmark of scamming. Twitter had come up with a solution that would differentiate between "verified" accounts and "verified" accounts that were only verified because their credit card cleared. It was unveiled in the evening—and Musk killed it Wednesday morning.
The $8 fee will likely prove an efficient method of scamming unwary users, one that could be made more profitable if Musk goes forward with an announced intent to couple Twitter with a new online payment system connected to user bank accounts. For $8, new Twitter accounts can impersonate companies or celebrities in order to promote fundraising scams or link Twitter users to phishing sites that probe users with security questions or virus downloads. By the time each scam becomes infamous enough to come to the attention of a human Twitter moderator, however many still exist, a good profit could likely be made.
It also is allowing some of the most infamous and violence-provoking hate accounts to have the same "verified" status as the anti-hate groups that track them.
What's not happening is the "community" context-checking that the frequently dishonest Musk continues to claim will solve problems of hate speech, impersonation, and other problems Twitter once put in the hands of a skilled-but-beset site moderation team. As of this writing, none of the fraudulent accounts appear to have been caught by the pilot program that Musk has attempted to mollify wary advertisers with.
Musk still doesn't have a plan, and when Twitter does come up with a plan to protect users, Musk condemns it, then kills it. Chaos, and lawsuits, are coming.
And Elon Musk is about to lose even more money than anyone thought he might.
Holy crap, what an amazing night! Where do we even begin this week's episode of The Downballot? Well, we know exactly where: abortion. Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard recap Tuesday's extraordinary results, starting with a clear-eyed examination of the issue that animated Democrats as never before—and that pundits got so badly wrong. They also discuss candidate quality (still really important!), Democratic meddling in GOP primaries (good for democracy, actually), and "soft" Biden disapprovers (lots of them voted for Democrats).