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Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media platform Twitter has had a tumultuous start as people have begun manipulating the use of blue verified badges that can now be purchased for $7.99 a month.
Before the billionaire took over, Twitter users such as journalists and celebrities could be given a blue tick to show other users that they have been vetted by the service. Now, almost anyone is able to purchase a blue tick under Twitter’s new premium subscription service, Twitter Blue.
The problematic nature of dishing out blue ticks has already been well demonstrated as people have created verified genuine-looking parody accounts of politicians like Tony Blair and George W Bush and made reference to the controversial Iraq war that both oversaw.
An account with a blue tick parodying former US President George W Bush tweeted: “I miss killing Iraqis.”
Quoting the “Bush” tweet, a parody account of the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair responded: “Same tbh.”
While both of the parody accounts have since been deleted, the fact that the tweets were able to be posted from what appeared to be “verified” parody accounts has demonstrated to many the issues surrounding the paid Twitter Blue subscription.
Screengrabs of the tweets were posted by journalist Moya Lothian-McLean, who wrote: “Twitter Blue: great success!”
Highlighting the issue even further, another person shared their experience of getting verified and it sounded stupidly easy.
They explained: “It took me less than 25 minutes to set up a fake anonymous Apple ID using a VPN and disposable email, attach a masked debit card to it (with the address being Twitter's HQ), and get a verified account for a prominent figure.
“Just think what a nation-state or bad actor could do…”
\u201cIt took me less than 25 minutes to set up a fake anonymous Apple ID using a VPN and disposable email, attach a masked debit card to it (with the address being Twitter's HQ), and get a verified account for a prominent figure. Just think what a nation-state or bad actor could do...\u201d