Skip to content

Twitter Staff Grapple With Brand Impostors Like Nintendo, Lilly

  • Musk said ‘absolute priority’ is taking down verified trolls
  • Twitter Blue allows anyone to pay for verification check marks
Twitter’s blue verification check on Elon Musk’s page.
Twitter’s blue verification check on Elon Musk’s page.Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Twitter Inc.’s trust and safety team, which earlier this week had been focused on the US midterm election, quickly shifted its attention to deal with a problem of its own making: a host of users impersonating major brands and celebrities, according to people familiar with the matter.

New leader Elon Musk, who purchased the company two weeks ago for $44 billion, updated the premium version of the product in a way that awards paying subscribers with blue check marks -- the same ones that governments, celebrities and businesses get on the site for free to confirm their identities. Once the option was available, users started creating accounts pretending to be major brands and politicians, fooling users and potentially jeopardizing Twitter’s now-shaky reputation with top advertisers.