June 5, 2023

Twitter Blue Subscriptions Suspended After Increase in Verified Scam Accounts – National | Globalnews.ca

Twitter’s relaunched premium service, which awards blue-check “verification” stickers to anyone willing to pay $8 a month, was unavailable Friday after the social media platform was flooded with a wave of Twitter-approved impostor accounts.

Before billionaire Elon Musk took control of the social media platform two weeks ago, the blue check was issued to celebrities, journalists and verified by the platform — specifically to prevent impersonation. Now anyone can get one as long as they have a phone, a credit card and $8 a month.

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When a scammer account registered to the revamped Twitter Blue system tweeted that insulin was free, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. had to issue an apology. Nintendo, Lockheed Martin, Musk’s own Tesla and SpaceX were also imitated, as well as the accounts of several professional sports figures.

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For advertisers who have staked their businesses on Twitter, the fake accounts could be the last straw as Musk’s rocky run at the top of the platform — laying off half the workforce and a high-profile exit — raises questions about its survival.

Now there are two classes of “blue checks” and they look the same. One includes accounts that were verified before Musk took the helm. It states that “This account has been verified because it is prominent in government, news, entertainment, or another specified category.” Another notes that the account has a Twitter Blue subscription.

An email sent to Twitter’s press address went unanswered. The company’s communications department had to be laid off.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted that “too many corrupt old Blue tokens exist, so there is no choice but to remove the old Blue in the coming months.”

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Twitter Blue was not available in the web version of the platform, according to which login was only possible in the iPhone version. But the iPhone version did not offer the Twitter Blue option

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Twitter also started adding gray “official” tags again to some of the more visible accounts. It had spread the stickers earlier in the week, only to kill them a few hours later.

They returned Thursday night, at least for some accounts — including Twitter’s own, as well as big companies like Amazon, Nike and Coca-Cola, before many disappeared again.

Celebrities also didn’t seem to get the “official” badge.

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