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11 November 2022
Twitter blue tick payments enable brand impersonators
TwitterSocial media planning & buyingStrategy
Tesla, Eli Lilly, Nintendo … just a few of the brands that have been impersonated on Twitter in recent days as pranksters have taken advantage of the offer of an $8 a month payment for a verified account; it’s a development that threatens to completely sink the platform’s credibility for advertisers.
The story so far
Elon Musk’s chaotic oversight of Twitter included early threats to brands that pulled their advertising, before he met the advertising industry on Twitter Spaces to hear their concerns.
That meeting was last Wednesday, when the moderation of hate speech was uppermost in their minds – the same day that the new $8 blue tick policy launched. Two days later, advertisers had another major worry as media headlines highlighted examples of brand impersonation.
While this was mostly harmless, even entertaining, stuff, it’s still a headache for brands, and one that they’ll blame Musk for. But there’s the probability that the humour will be superseded by more nefarious activity.
Already there are reports of fake-but-verified customer support accounts, raising the possibility of bad actors scamming consumers out of their money.
There’s been a lot of focus on advertisers pulling spend from Twitter amid concerns their brand could appear next to unsuitable content, but the platform has also become an important tool for customer engagement. Joke fake accounts are one thing, but malicious fake accounts can do huge damage to a brand’s reputation.
Meanwhile, Twitter’s business model is starting to change. In a Thursday email to staff, Musk said he wanted to see up to half of the service’s revenues come from subscriptions. But this will require massive takeup of a product that until now people didn’t pay for.
It would be an extraordinary feat to hugely overpay for a platform that you didn’t necessarily want to buy and then effectively destroy it in a matter of weeks. Turns out running a social media platform is rocket science after all.
Sourced from Washington Post, Yahoo!, Twitter, Bloomberg