Twitter Blue launches platform flooded with fake accounts

JThe Federal Trade Commission warned Thursday that it is monitoring Twitter with “deep concern” following Elon Musk’s purchase of the social media platform. Today from Twitter monthly subscription verification service went live, trolls have already started flooding the site with accounts posing as public figures, sometimes with hilarious results.

Twitter’s verification system was originally designed to increase trust in the platform and placed a blue checkmark next to the usernames of public figures, businesses, journalists and organizations. Now the blue tick can be purchased for $7.99 per month, part of Musk’s efforts to generate more cash for the company, which he bought last month for $44 billion.

So now a blue tick now means the account has been verified under the original system or “has an active Twitter Blue subscription”.

So far, TIME has found at least six verified accounts that have changed their names to Elon Musk. Many others, like “Italian Elon Musk” riff on the billionaire’s name with insults. But Musk doesn’t seem to take the question too seriously, responding with laughing emojis to a tweet that highlighted spam on the app.

Meanwhile, the platform’s woes are piling up. Two top executives resigned on Thursday, as first reported Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer and Casey Newtonand Bloomberg’s Kurt Wagner. Last Wednesday, those executives — Robin Wheeler and Yoel Roth — conducted a live Q&A with Musk intended to assuage advertisers’ fears about safety and misinformation.

An FTC spokesperson said, “We are following recent developments on Twitter with deep concern. No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are ready to use them. »

How the platform evolves

Some users deploy their newly purchased blue tick to make insensitive comments while impersonating important officials.

A Twitter user impersonated former US President George W. Bush with hateful statements about Iraqis. The account has since been suspended. Another user, impersonating the verified Nintendo of America account, shared a picture of Mario giving the middle finger. It was in place for almost two hours before being banned, the Verge reports.

Since Musk became CEO, the platform may have lost more than a million users, according to MIT Technology Review. On the other hand, app downloads have skyrocketed, according to data.ai, an analytics platform. Globally, Twitter was downloaded 6.31 million times in the 10-day period following Musk’s formal acquisition of the company, up 22% from the previous 10 days.

How advertisers feel

On Wednesday, Musk, along with other Twitter executives from Twitter’s Sales and Integrity team, held a live chat on Twitter Spaces to ease advertisers’ nerves about the platform’s future. form. Many big advertisers like General Motors, United Airlines, Audi and General Mills have already pulled ads since Musk took over the platform, the AP reports.

Musk said the new Twitter Blue will actually increase security on the platform because spammers and scammers will eventually run out of ways to buy verification, saying, “They’re going to need a lot of credit cards and many phones. ”

He promised Twitter would continue to serve advertisers by making it easier to shop on the platform and creating tools to make ads more relevant. He also pioneered the idea of ​​users sending money via Twitter.

The CEO also promised he would work hard to ensure the hate speech, which initially increased when Musk took over the company, stays at bay. Yoel Roth, global head of security and integrity at Twitter, who would have resigned today, tweeted that the efforts of the moderation team have been successful.

“We’re really going to agonize a lot about what’s right, what needs to be done, and sometimes we’ll get it wrong and take corrective action,” Musk said. “If we do a good job, we’ll see user interest high and advertiser growth strong.”

Musk blames activists for pushing advertisers away from the social media site. Advocacy organizations have write a letter urging companies to withdraw from Twitter. But that’s not the only reason companies are leaving the platform, said Lou Paskalis, president and chief operating officer of marketing trade association MMA Global.

“Marketers are governed by the principles of brand safety and appropriateness. The CEO’s unsavory tweets, the instability of the content moderation tech support team, and more. will force marketers to suspend advertising on @Twitter. @elonmusk doesn’t understand that yet,” Paskalis tweeted.

Data from Media Radar, an ad intelligence platform, shows that since the announcement of Musk’s purchase of the app in April, advertising on Twitter has declined. There was some initial growth seen in May, which they attribute to buying enthusiasm, but by August advertisers were down to around 2,300 from 3,500 in March.

Twitter – whose latest quarterly filing showed a $400 million loss “excluding one-time divestiture gains in the first six months of this year,” Fortune reports— uses advertising revenue as its main source of revenue.

Application and non-application

Changes in the app were quick and full of flip-flops. musk before tweeted that accounts posing as public figures would be suspended. But reports indicate that some accounts were open for hours before Twitter intervened.

Twitter said that it will soon be rolling out a process that will make it harder for Twitter Blue followers to change their display name after receiving a blue tick.

Twitter has also temporarily rolled out a second “official” gray tick that would help distinguish real accounts. The feature was removed a few hours later, although Twitter Product Team Manager Esther Crawford noted the feature would eventually launch for “government and commercial entities”.

Accounts that were already verified before the new subscription feature was released still have their blue check mark. It’s still unclear when these accounts will lose their blue check if they don’t subscribe to Twitter Blue, though Musk said that would happen in the next few months.

“Please note that Twitter will be doing a lot of stupid things in the coming months,” Musk said. tweeted Wednesday. “We will keep what works and change what doesn’t.”

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