On Twitter, our advice on fake certified accounts that went down thanks to Elon Musk

DADO RUVIC / REUTERS FILE PHOTO: An image of Elon Musk is seen on a smartphone placed over printed Twitter logos in this illustration photo taken April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo

DADO RUVIC / REUTERS

Fake Twitter certifications fell on the social network on Thursday, November 10.

SOCIAL NETWORKS – Since he bought Twitter on October 28, Elon Musk has had only one thing in mind: to destroy in order to rebuild. This notably resulted in the layoff of half of Twitter’s employees worldwide.

For social network users, one of the first developments concerns the certification of accounts. This little blue badge, attached to the Twitter account of a personality, a media, a journalist or an official institution, has until now been granted by Twitter after certain verification procedures (discussion between the persons concerned and the employees of Twitter, identity verification, etc. ).

The purpose: to ensure that an account is well maintained by the person it represents and that it is indeed the source of the posted message, to prevent the spread of false information or potentially harmful misuse.

$8 Certification

The verification system experienced many problems, and was even stopped between 2017 and 2021, after a scandal linked to the certification of a supremacist Twitter account in the United States. Since resuming the certification process, which can be obtained upon request via a form, there are approximately 423,000 certified Twitter accounts, or 0.2% of these active users.

Except that soon after buying Twitter, Elon Musk decided to destroy this verification process, and replace it with another one: it is said that he wants to return ” Power over people he announced that every Twitter user can purchase their certification by subscribing to the paid version of Twitter, called Twitter Blue, for $8 per month.

This new paid version of Twitter was deployed in the United States and certain English-speaking countries on November 5. But only on the night of Wednesday November 9 to Thursday November 10 did accounts subscribed to Twitter Blue receive the this popular $8 certification.

Nintendo, Apple TV and George Bush were imitated

And some accounts immediately fall into the violation of jokes and scams, taking the appearance of an official account with certification. A certified fake Nintendo account has been identified, with Mario waving the middle finger, but also a fake AppleTV accountor, by former US President George W Bush his biography wonders what was wrong if he himself planned the September 11 attacks.

Even Twitter has been imitated, with a fake verified account promoting a fake link to sign up to its paid service, and promising NFT to its users.

Faced with a wave of certifications attached to fake accounts, Twitter tried to put up some dikes… but to no avail. On Wednesday, November 9, Twitter tentatively tested an additional “Official” badge, joining media accounts and institutions that had already been certified prior to the deployment of the Twitter Blue system.

But this mention only stayed online for two hours, before Elon Musk decide to delete it, without explanation. An official Twitter support account indicated that they will instead “Aggressively confront impersonation and deception. »

In fact, and according to the findings of many users on Thursday, November 10, this search for fake accounts and identity theft is still in favor of people playing on Twitter’s weak moderation capabilities.

How not to fall into the trap?

In this jungle, if you often consult Twitter or use it in a professional setting (as journalists, journalists, political activists… all over the world regularly do), here are some tips to avoid problems.

On the one hand, if you see a verified account posting something strange or unusual, or a link asking you to pay something on another site (or to win a prize): above all, don’t click.

Instead, check if the certified button “via Twitter Blue subscription” is obtained. To do this, go to the profile and click on the button in question next to the profile name. If the answer is positive, you are definitely in front of an account that has paid to get certified thanks to the Twitter Blue subscription available in its country, but not the indicated person.

Example of a fake Twitter account of George W Bush, who obtained real certification by subscribing to the Twitter Blue system.
The HuffPost/Twitter Example of a fake Twitter account of George W Bush, who obtained real certification by subscribing to the Twitter Blue system.

The HuffPost/Twitter

Example of a fake Twitter account of George W Bush, who obtained real certification by subscribing to the Twitter Blue system.

Other clues will put you on alert: for example, if the name and the handle (the @nomduaccount that comes with a profile) contain errors or incorrect upper and lower case letters. The certified fake Twitter account has a completely wacky handle, and an accent on the “i”.

A fake Twitter account with real certification, but a totally wacky @.
A fake Twitter account with real certification, but a totally wacky @.

A fake Twitter account with real certification, but a totally wacky @.

In addition, when faced with a tweet that you consider strange from a certified account, do not hesitate to cross-check with other social networks. Celebrities, media, political figures and institutions who post on Twitter often also have TikTok, Instagram or even Facebook accounts, with verification and certification systems that are less conducive to misuse. You can also check their official website or if there is any press release to back up the claims posted in the tweet.

Finally, if you are a regular user of Twitter for several months or years, do not hesitate to compile in lists, or documents, all the verified accounts of which you are some of people who supervise them.

See also at The HuffPost :

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