Last week, Twitter announced a big change in its blue checkmark verification system. The changes saw hundreds of previously verified accounts for celebrities, game and movie studios and more purged overnight, though some notable figures like Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Neil Gaiman have mysteriously had their verified status reinstated since then. That didn’t stop the myriad of fake game accounts from spawning over the weekend, though, resulting in plenty of confusion on the platform.
Needless to say, it has become rather difficult to differentiate fake accounts from actual accounts now on Twitter. Companies and brands have the option to pay $1,000 for a gold “verified” checkmark to bypass this issue, however, several companies including PlayStation, Nintendo of Europe, NVIDIA and AMD have chosen to not use this option (including other organisations like New York Times and even the White House).
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Twitter users quickly saw an influx of fake accounts related to gaming companies and developers pop up over the weekend. Everything from a fake account posing as a revival of EA Sports Big announcing a remake of SSX Tricky to Tony Hawk himself having his account faked after losing his verification checkmark (which was recently reinstated too).
When Elon Musk first announced changes to the blue checkmark verification process that allowed regular users to pay $8 a month and essentially “subscribe” for Twitter Blue checkmarks, trolls created fake accounts of Nintendo, Ubisoft and more while showing the paid blue checkmark. Naturally this confused a lot of people who didn’t look into the accounts in question and took several fake announcements as truth.
The problem only seems to be persisting even without checkmarks – it’s arguably easier to create fake accounts now since faux organisation accounts no longer need to be verified to appear as legitimate. We recommend approaching all information on Twitter these days with extreme caution and looking into the accounts behind news before drawing conclusions. It’s remarkably easy to abuse the system now and we’ll likely see the situation worsen in the coming weeks.