Fake accounts are wreaking havoc on Twitter.
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Twitter has suspended giving the “blue tick” for a monthly subscription amid the chaos on the platform following the emergence of many fake accounts. Several accounts posing as big brands received the “blue tick” that used to be used to verify that the user’s identity is real.
In one instance, a user claimed to be the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and said that “insulin is free,” causing chaos and a slump in the company’s shares. The incident added to further concerns about how Elon Musk’s new administration would deal with misinformation across the platform.
PR analyst Max Burns said he saw fake accounts that bought the blue stamp and claimed to be support accounts for real airlines.
Musk completed a $44 billion purchase of Twitter last month and soon began making changes to the company. Musk has laid off an estimated 3,700 employees, or about half the workforce, urging the company to focus on finding ways to make money outside of advertising.
In his first email to employees, he warned, “The road ahead is arduous and requires extensive work to succeed… Without significant subscription revenue, there is a strong possibility that Twitter will not survive the next economic downturn.”
Twitter’s troubles have compounded as the digital advertising market enters a recession and major brands and marketing firms are halting spending on the platform over concerns about its development. For the Blue Label subscription service, users have to pay $7.99 per month to get the Blue Label which was previously free. The move quickly raised fears of fake accounts popping up, which is why Twitter initially resorted to using these tags.
Several fake accounts claiming to belong to brands, including Nintendo and BP, have been banned. “Elon Musk must appoint a new CEO and commit to staying away from company operations,” wrote Lou Pascalis, president of MMI Global, on Twitter. “It’s clear that running Twitter isn’t among your many talents,” he added.
Musk’s actions resulted in the departure of a group of prominent executives who survived the headcount cut, including those responsible for protecting user privacy. The platform’s head of security, Leah Kessner, tweeted: “I’ve made the difficult decision to leave Twitter.”
And the Federal Trade Commission in the US announced that it is watching with great concern what is happening on Twitter. Yoel Roth, the platform’s head of trust and security, resigned just a day after vigorously defending Musk’s content modification policy to advertisers.
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