Users have impersonated brands on Twitter after Elon Musk changed the criteria for acquiring a verified account. As part of the change, a user only has to pay a monthly fee of US$7.99 to be verified on Twitter.
This has seen several well-known brands such as Pepsi, Nestlé and Tesla being misrepresented through fake accounts. A quick check by INTERACTIVE-MARKETING showed that @PEPICO tweeted “Coke is better” and received 14.8k likes. The account was deleted, but a screenshot was taken by @MarkJacob16 and posted on the platform which received 88.9k likes. The official Pepsi Twitter account did not address this issue.
Famous F&B company Nestlé was also targeted and the tweet ‘We steal your water and resell it to you’ was posted by @NestleDeathCult which has a verified blue mark. It garnered over 44.9,000 likes. The account was also deleted. The official Nestlé account did not make a statement on its account.
Musk’s own company, Tesla, was also a target. @TeslaReal posted “BREAKING: A second Tesla hit the World Trade Center”. INTERACTIVE-MARKETING did a quick check, and the account still exists but the tweet can’t be found. Musk’s car company did not make an official statement on its Twitter account.
Although it doesn’t get as much attention, McDonald’s also impersonates Twitter. The fake account tweeted that the fast food chain will serve alternative meat in the future. The official Twitter account had no comment.
An American tech company that sells weapons and planes also had a fake account trying to impersonate the company. The fake account said it would stop selling weapons to other countries, and it garnered 195,000 likes. On its official page, business is as usual and there is no mention of the fake account.
Nintendo was also impersonated where, instead of words, the fake account tweeted a photo of the iconic Mario character pointing a middle finger. This post received 157.8k likes. The official Twitter account has not commented on this incident.
Twitter has also taken action against accounts impersonating NBA star LeBron James and former President George W. Bush.
This new function deployed by Musk has become problematic. It’s no surprise, then, that major brands have suspended ad spending on the platform, and those brands include Forbes, Dyson, Mazda, PBS Kids, Walt Disney, NBCUniversal, Cole Haan, and Coca-Cola. Currently, around 90% of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising, although it is far behind that of Facebook and Google.
Twitter first launched the service last week in its iPhone app, but as of Friday the option was no longer available. The platform has become a hotbed of misinformation as many gamers have acquired ticks to impersonate brands, politicians, and celebrities.
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