Dhe new Twitter owner Elon Musk received a sharp warning from a US senator after the chaos surrounding fake accounts that looked deceptively real. “Get your businesses in order. Or Congress will do it,” Democrat Ed Markey wrote on Twitter after a verbal exchange with Musk.
The trigger for the dispute was an experiment by the Washington Post. A journalist from the newspaper managed to create a fake account for the senator, which was provided with a verification tick. This was made possible with the new procedure, in which the verification signs previously awarded to celebrities, politicians and companies after an examination are to be given to all users who pay eight dollars a month as a subscription fee. There is no identity check. The tick icon looks the same in both cases. Only when you click on it is an explanatory text displayed, whether the account got the tick because of its importance or because the user paid for it.
Musk had said that from his point of view, authentication through payment services and app platforms should protect against misuse of the new system. But it hasn’t stopped many users from spending $8 to set up verification ticked fake celebrity and corporate accounts, including basketball star LeBron James, gaming company Nintendo, and former President Donald Trump. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly apologized to Twitter users who were led to believe by a fake account that insulin would be distributed free of charge in the future. An allegedly verified Chiquita fake account announced that it had overthrown the Brazilian government.
Twitter suspended the subscription function for the weekend. It should probably not be activated again until the end of the week, Musk wrote on Twitter. However, checkmarks that have already been assigned in this way are still displayed. The “Washington Post” created a fake account for Markey with a subscription payment, including a verification tick, while the senator has long had official profiles on the service. Markey accused Musk of making Twitter a “social media wild west” by making “rapid and indiscriminate” changes to the platform. “This is unacceptable,” Markey wrote, demanding explanations from Musk about the verification system.
Musk responded defiantly, “Maybe it’s because her real account comes off as a parody?” Markey reminded him that Twitter has had to make commitments to the FTC and Musk-led electric car maker Tesla is being investigated by the NHTSA for fatalities will. The Senate can summon company bosses to hearings. After the recent parliamentary elections, it is already foreseeable that the Democrats will retain control of the Congress Chamber.