The second day of “Twitter Blue,” Elon Musk’s scheme to monetize Twitter verification by allowing anyone who pays $8 to have a blue check, turned out to be even worse than the first, as the flood of verified fake celebrity accounts that defined Day 1 was superseded by verified accounts impersonating major corporations and advertisers — including the Musk-owned Tesla Motors.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, Twitter also saw some truly hilarious verified accounts pretending to be real politicians and pundits, and at least one actual Nazi who received a blue check.
We’ll start with the fake Tesla account using the handle @TesIaReal, which became active just before 1:00 p.m. Pacific on Thursday. The account has been posting all afternoon, dropping a dozen or so tweets that mocked Musk for everything from the government subsidies that made him rich to his so-far disastrous time at the helm of Twitter.
Here’s a sampling:
As of this writing, the account remains up and continues to tweet absolutely brutal Musk roasts. How much longer it will be there remains to be seen, of course: Last week Musk turned a blind eye to a rise in hoax and imposter accounts on Twitter, until people started impersonating him, at which point he threw a fit and banned everyone who did it unless the account was “clearly” marked as a parody.
Shortly before 6:00 p.m. Pacific, Musk finally waded into the matter, declaring that from now on, parody accounts must have parody in their names, not just bios. This of course would not apply to pro-Nazi accounts that are sincere, such as the one mentioned above. However, we should note that the fake Tesla account is still up and still unaltered.
Meanwhile, another Twitter Blue failure happened when an account pretended to be pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. Though clearly labeled a parody account in its bio, the account used the handle @EliLiIlyandCo and the company’s actual logo as its avatar and despite this managed to make it through whatever passes for validation on Twitter Blue.
Right out the gate the account tweeted, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” Several thousand retweets later, the actual Eli Lilly Twitter account was forced issue a statement apologizing for the “misleading message” from the fake account.
As of this writing the fake account is still up. However, in late afternoon someone at Twitter noticed it, and the account now contains a disclaimer: “This is an impersonation account of an insulin manufacturer. Their real account is @LillyPad.”
British oil giant BP Global — you know, the company behind the Deepwater Horizon disaster — also had an imitator who managed to secure a blue check without any problem. An account with the handle @BPDeezNutzz has been tweeting about environmental issues and the way the oil industry specifically makes climate change worse since April, 2022. Now, however, it does so with a blue check.
And of course, at least one actual Nazi managed to get their account verified through Twitter Blue (Image via Rachel Metz). This was, we should note, despite literally including “1488,” a well known code referencing two separate white supremacist memes, in their handle.
But don’t worry, the impersonation of public figures also continued. For instance, these accounts pretending to be right wing commentator Ben Shapiro and President Joe Biden – again, both of these accounts received blue checks.
Some other people gave former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. President George W. Bush similar treatment.
This is all just the latest Twitter disaster for Musk, whose tenure as boss of Twitter has sparked an exodus of some of the company’s most crucial employees and a disastrous drop in advertising due almost entirely to advertiser concerns over content moderation.
We suspect the fact that Twitter is seeing both a rise in hate speech and in brand impersonators isn’t going to bring advertisers back any more than Musk’s clumsy attempt to bully them last week did.