Will the real Elon Musk please stand up?
As Twitter’s system for verifying that people really are who they say they are now requires a $7.99/month fee, celebrities who already had a blue checkmark, including “One Day at a Time” actress Valerie Bertinelli and “Roswell” star Brendan Fehr, changed their names on the platform to “Elon Musk” as a subtle protest.
“Is Elon Musk as worried that all his tweets are from ‘Elon Musk’ as I am? I mean, even my good ones,” Fehr tweeted.
Bertinelli, whose Twitter handle “Wolfiesmom” is a nod to her son Wolfie Van Halen, tweeted her support for Democratic candidates ahead of next week’s midterms. Musk himself famously switched his allegiance to the Republican party earlier this year.
Kathy Griffin has gone all-in on the game, and seems to be having quite a lot of fun doing so, not only urging women to #VoteBlue, but also hocking a Twitter competitor, Mastodon.
And the real Musk — obvs — did not retweet this cartoon, asking why he needs $8 from verified users each month when he’s the richest man in the world.
Nor did he retweet this critique of the new verification process from NBC News’ Ben Collins: “What verification means now: We’ve confirmed this person or company is who they say they are. What verification will mean in the future: I have $8.”
Those two tweets are courtesy of former NFL player and author Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft), whose account is currently tagged as “restricted.”
Vanity Fair TV critic Sonia Saraiya also changed her Twitter name to “Elon Musk” and shared direct messages she’s gotten from people who think she really is the Tesla and SpaceX founder.
On a similar note, actor-comedian Zach Heltzel changed his Twitter name to JFK Jr., mocking the conspiracy theorists who claim that the former president’s son did not die in a plane crash in 1999 but is alive, well, and is in hiding because he is Q, as in the head of QAnon).
“I paid $7.99 for this checkmark. No cap,” Heltzel tweeted. “Oh hell yeah my mentions are filled with people who don’t get the joke this rocks.” He went on to joke, “I’m alive and so is my 105-year-old father.”
As of Saturday morning, the new “Twitter Blue” plan is available via Apple’s App Store, but is not yet in effect. It promises subscribers “priority ranking for quality content” that will help “lower the visibility of scams, spam, and bots.”
With fake identities of real people and multiple faux Elon Musks already confusing people, it’s hard to see how that will reduce scams.