Twitter verification is now available to Twitter Blue subscribers who pay $8 a month, allowing any account to gain a blue checkmark. The change has led to an instant problem across the website, as users are already paying to impersonate some of gaming’s biggest companies.
The change comes as part of new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s fast and sweeping changes to the service. On Tuesday alone, the company rolled out a new form of “Official” badge on profiles to distinguish official accounts from fakers. That feature was shut down within a few hours, while paid verification began rolling out later that day. Users wasted no time in abusing the system.
For instance, a Twitter account named @nIntendoofus changed its display name to Nintendo of America, mirroring the profile picture and header image of Nintendo’s actual account. It began tweeting fake announcements, including news that a sequel to Super Mario Galaxy was in development. Shortly after, it tweeted a photo of Mario giving the middle finger, quickly racking up over 10,000 likes. The account has since been shut down.
Valve is currently a target of a similar prank, thanks to a now-verified account that managed to snag the handle @valvesotfware (note the t and the f positions there). The account, which has 21,000 followers at the time of writing, tweeted a teaser for new project titled Ricochet: Neon Prime, a fake sequel to 2000’s Ricochet. Of course, it’s all a joke, as the account’s pinned tweet points out a flaw in Twitter’s current verification system.
“Twitter Blue is a problem, misinformation is so easy to spread, and the damage it can cause can have a real impact on people, much more of an impact than a fake game announcement. You now own a massive platform and this is what you choose to do with it, do better,” the account tweets, tagging Elon Musk.
Nintendo and Valve aren’t the only accounts facing impersonators. Public figures from Rudolph Giuliani to Elon Musk himself now have copycat accounts with blue checkmarks, creating an immediate hurdle for the site’s new system. Musk previously noted that accounts that are found impersonating real people and not marked as parody will be suspended, though accounts that have clearly noted they are parodies have been shut down, creating confusion about Twitter’s new rules.