Twitter Verification Fiasco

Elon+Musk

Mohamed Hassan

Elon Musk “freeing” twitter

Elon Musk is a Silly Goose.

Elon Musk fully purchased Twitter in late October, and the changes that have followed are… embarrassing for him. For background, Musk is the founder of an electric car company, Tesla, and other projects like SpaceX. After his purchase he made some big changes that maybe didn’t go as he expected. One of these changes concerned the verification of the accounts on the app. Instead of being based on request, people can pay eight dollars to be verified. Why on earth he thought this was a good idea is completely beyond me. When people are able to fake other accounts so easily, chaos ensues, and C’mon, It’s Twitter, what did he expect? . Parody accounts took over twitter, impersonating big companies with their new verification. 

  One of the most popular parody accounts was a fake, but verified, Eli Lilly account. Eli Lilly is a Pharmaceutical company founded in 1876 by its namesake Colonel Eli Lilly who fought with the Union in the Civil war. Along with being a Colonel, he was a chemist and pharmacist, hence the founding of a pharmaceutical company. The imposter account stated that  the company would be giving insulin for free. Another Eli Lilly impersonator then raised the price to $400. These accounts were making a broader commentary on the medical system in the U.S. and fluctuation of life saving medications at the hands of a market system holding their lives in the balance of care and profit. 

“girls like it when you kill your wife”

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Speaking of injustices, an OJ Simpson imposter account tweeted out a confession to his alleged murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1994. OJ Simpson was a football player for the Buffalo Bills, and later the San Francisco 49ers where he met and married Nicole Brown Simpson. During their on and off relationship, Simpson had numerous alleged affairs, and was abusive to the point of police intervention. Eventually the two divorced, but Simpson was caught stalking Brown and their children.

He then “allegedly” murdered Brown but claimed innocence. Because of his previous stardom, he entered into the infamous trial for his fate. Despite the blatant evidence, and logical holes in the defense’s case, he was found innocent, yet most believe his guilt. He and the case have become a sort of joke in popular culture. The account tweeted a series of confessionary phrases including “goodmorning i [sic] killed my wife” and “girls like it when you kill your wife”. While this wasn’t news to anyone in particular, it stirred up a bit of confusion on the app due to the accounts one letter difference in handle, making it very difficult to tell the difference.

The account that backfired the most on Musk was a parody account of his own company. The Tesla parody account posted comments like “We ride this til it combusts like a Tesla battery”. Perhaps easy verification wasn’t the best decision for Musk. Following the incidents, Tesla stock saw a sizable decline. Darn. While he tried to remedy the situation by adding restrictions back to verifications, accounts continued for a while, and even after they were banned, the damages had been done. Maybe this was a lesson? Maybe things don’t always go as planned? Maybe firing an entire department because you think their job is pointless isn’t the best idea, especially if you haven’t really looked into the positions? Maybe throwing money and poorly thought out solutions at issues you don’t understand doesn’t actually make it better? Who would have expected this outcome? The answer is just about anyone with half a brain and a basic understanding of social media.