On Tuesday, Twitter Blue accounts started to go live. Twitter Blue is the platform’s new subscription service, which costs $7.99 a month and grants users fewer advertisements and the distinctive blue check mark on their account. That check mark used to be a sign that the account’s owner was who they said they were; now, it’s a purchasable status symbol.
Surprising absolutely no one, this feature immediately led to chaos, misinformation, and mayhem as Twitter Blue users decided to flex their checks by posting spicy fake news. One early example was a post from “RockstarGamse” advertising an upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6 showcase. The post was quickly nuked, but it was followed by a wave of accounts pulling similar pranks.
As much as we'd like a real Ricochet reboot, this circulating tweet isn't genuine, and wasn't published by Valve.— PC Gamer (@pcgamer) November 9, 2022
⚠ A little PSA to apply some extra skepticism to anything crossing your Twitter feed that seems unexpected. pic.twitter.com/iPF5ep47bM
Can't imagine why all the advertisers are pulling out of Twitter lmao pic.twitter.com/pg55WXkxhS— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) November 9, 2022
Every single advertiser is about to drop Twitter in the next 48 hours. Person creates fake Nintendo Twitter account, pays $8, gets verified immediately and within 2 hours, all their sh**posts go viral. Real Nintendo account gets spammed with complaints. pic.twitter.com/7CZcwYJDsd— Matt (@themattprov) November 9, 2022
Twitter has made some efforts to combat verified accounts sharing fake news, including suspending the fake Nintendo account, but it’s not really clear how the company will actually prevent misinformation.
On Wednesday morning, a second “official” marker was added to certain accounts, including major publications, business accounts, and notable figures. But the choices for who received the “official” mark appeared incoherent from the outside. And it was quickly and unceremoniously removed shortly after its launch, with Elon Musk tweeting that he had killed the feature. On Wednesday afternoon, Twitter Support tweeted that it was “aggressively going after impersonation and deception.”
We’re not currently putting an “Official” label on accounts but we are aggressively going after impersonation and deception.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 9, 2022
Twitter users can also click the blue check mark, which will specify whether it has been granted by Twitter or purchased as part of a Twitter Blue subscription. However, it’s clear that these limited attempts aren’t stopping ambitious shitposters from creating fake corporate missives (and causing headaches for everyone in the process).
As such, browsing Twitter should be done with a good degree of caution. It’s like every day is April Fools now, so that great new announcement or shocking image might just be from a random person with eight dollars to spare. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is — and chances are, the official Nintendo account won’t be posting Mario flipping his fans off any time soon.