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Image: “nIntendoofus” on Twitter

Twitter verification used to mean “Twitter has checked you are who you say you are.” As of this morning, the only thing it means is that you’re coughing up eight dollars to join the club because Elon Musk decided that anyone can buy a “verified” check mark without any verification at all.

In the hours since, some hilarity has ensued.

Can’t imagine why all the advertisers are pulling out of Twitter lmao pic.twitter.com/pg55WXkxhS

— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) November 9, 2022

Screenshot by Joon Lee
“LeBron James” says he’s officially requesting a trade away from the Lakers.

Screenshot by @randymco
“Donald Trump” points out why Elon Musk’s verification system is flawed.

Screenshot by Tom Warren / The Verge
Neon Prime is a phrase Valve trademarked, but it’s probably not for a return of its disc-throwing game Ricochet.

Screenshot by Philip Lewis

Jesus Christ, an existing parody account on Twitter, was also able to get verified:

Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge
Jesus is verified.

Our sister site SB Nation is following what’s happening to Sports Twitter right now: Aroldis Chapman, Connor McDavid, and others are being impersonated as well. Snopes even felt the need to run an article about how the Raiders’ Josh McDaniels wasn’t actually fired.

A brand new parody Twitter account that paid for verification and chose the display name of ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Josh McDaniels was fired. The credible-looking tweet received nearly 10,000 engagements. Twitter suspended the account after two hours. https://t.co/diegQfkpA1

— Jordan Liles (@jordanliles) November 9, 2022

Twitter is already taking action on some of these accounts: fake Nintendo, fake Trump, fake Valve, and fake LeBron have had their accounts suspended, for example. (Mario was up for roughly two hours, Valve for even longer.) Others are still around. The company says it is “aggressively going after impersonation and deception.” But it seems like it’ll be a game of whack-a-mole.

We’re not currently putting an “Official” label on accounts but we are aggressively going after impersonation and deception.

— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 9, 2022

While Musk has claimed that this new system will deter spammers, it’s now crystal clear how it can empower fake news — though users can still check to see why an account was verified if they click or tap on the badge instead of blindly retweeting.

Well now you can tell if someone earned a check mark or bought it. Not Twitter calling folks out pic.twitter.com/T82GA6hKmF

— iamBrandon The Game Awards (@iamBrandonTV) November 9, 2022

Twitter also briefly attempted a two-tier check mark system this morning, but Musk “killed it” after just a few hours.

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