Twitter suspends payment for verification after the chaos due to the avalanche of impostors

The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has plummeted more than 4% on the stock market this Friday after announcing on Twitter that insulin was becoming free. Only it wasn’t Eli Lilly. It was an account with that name verified by Twitter with the blue mark that it now grants those who pay $7.99 a month. The loss of value of the company has been greater: about 14,000 million dollars (a similar amount in euros) in one day.

Elon Musk’s haste caused Twitter to launch its payment service for the blue verification mark without the proper filters. The social network has been filled with celebrities with the blue mark who are actually impostors. A verified fake LeBron James has asked to leave the Los Angeles Lakers. Lockheed Martin has announced that it stops selling weapons to the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia and has plummeted 5% on the stock market. A new George W. Bush has said that he “misses killing Iraqis.” There is even a “verified” Jesus Christ. The chaos unleashed by the imposters with the blue mark has led the company to suspend the option, although no one knows for how long.

Twitter has not made any official announcement about it. The company launched the subscription service that entitles the blue mark last weekend. Then, he suspended it to prevent false verifications from interfering in the legislative elections last Tuesday. After the elections, he returned to the charge, but got tangled up with a distinction between blue (paid) and gray (official) checkmarks. Initially, Esther Crawford, the twitter product executivesaid that gray mark was for “government accounts, companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers, and some public figures,” but in less than 24 hours Musk decided to exclude the media and personalities.

That was a minor incident next to the chaos that has been unleashed on the network with the impostor accounts. The tycoon, who complained about the number of bots and fake accounts on Twitter, turns out that he now has fake verified accounts in which the identity of companies and personalities is impersonated. “Deceiving people is not okay”, he has said in a message referring to the parody accounts.

Twitter has not communicated that it has suspended the subscription option with a blue mark and can resume it at any time. The tycoon has tweeted an emoji in which he smiled at a message that despite suspending the account, the company kept the money paid. It is not clear that he is so amused by companies like Eli Lilly, Lockheed Martin, Nintendo, BP or Chiquita, some of the supplanted companies, nor by advertisers.

After the incident of the blue and gray marks, Musk justified himself: “Keep in mind that Twitter will do a lot of silly things in the coming months. We will leave what works and change what does not. That trial and error method has already begun to show its risks.

Musk gave the engineers and programmers of the social network an ultimatum to have the new subscription system ready in less than a week. From the beginning, the great unknown is what would be done with the impostors. The tycoon only announced that parody accounts should say that they were, and name changes of verified users would not be allowed. Clearly, the system has not worked.

Twitter was in charge before verifying the identity of the verified accounts, which normally corresponded to politicians, artists, journalists, personalities, companies, governments and organizations. That system of control disappeared when Musk, the richest man in the world, bought the social network and proclaimed: “Power to the people.”

a journalist from Washington Post he agreed with Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward J. Markey to subscribe to the service, called Twitter Blue, posing as him. He had no problem doing it. Markey has written a letter to Musk, quoted by the newspaper: “Apparently, due to Twitter’s lax verification practices and apparent need for cash, anyone can pay $8 and impersonate someone else on their platform. Selling the truth is dangerous and unacceptable.”

The tycoon has warned his employees that Bankruptcy of the company cannot be ruled out because of how bad its accounts are. Advertisers have fled en masse from the rise of racist, sexist and homophobic messages shortly after Musk bought the network and waiting for its new content moderation policy to be defined. In addition, the founder of Tesla, SpaceX and PayPal, among other companies, has loaded the company with 13,000 million dollars of debt as part of the purchase operation, so that he does not have to put so much out of his own pocket. But the cash generated by the company is not even enough to pay the interest on that debt.

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Twitter suspends payment for verification after the chaos due to the avalanche of impostors