Twitter rolled out “Twitter Blue” on Wednesday, the subscription service that lets anyone get a blue checkmark on their account for $8 per month, and subscribers immediately created fake celebrity accounts that threw the Twitterverse into widespread confusion.
Until today the blue check merely indicated that the identity of the accountholder was verified — meaning the person is who they say they are. The new service does not verify anything other than credit card information. So pretty much as everyone predicted, Twitter was soon home to a lot of obvious fake celebrity accounts that had received blue checks, including a fake LeBron James, Rudy Giuliani, as well internet investor Jason Calacanis.
The fake Rudy account was fairly obviously a joke.
The fake LeBron account however played things straight and even managed to freak people out with a fake announcement he wants to be traded by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The fake Calcanis account also made a bit more of an effort to seem real in service to disparaging him.
And yes, someone even paid to get a blue check for a fake Twitter corporate account.
People have been trying in vain to explain to Elon Musk ever since he bought Twitter why his plans to replace Twitter’s verification system with a subscription service will backfire. But perhaps he’ll listen to celebrities like fake LeBron James and fake Rudy Giuliani.
Musk is of course desperate for some way to make money off of Twitter because he hilariously overpaid for it. Most of his schemes have involved something that in all likelihood would kill the site, be it replacing verification with subscriptions, attempting to bully advertisers, and floating the idea of putting the entire site behind a paywall. And of course, the idea that charging for blue checks would make even a token dent in the company’s enormous expenses is uh inaccurate.
Of course, considered in his first week owning Twitter he shared fringe homophobic conspiracy theories and Nazi memes, it seems Musk has no shortage of ideas for making Twitter worse.