Last week, experts predicted that Elon Musk’s decision to make Twitter’s blue check pay-as-you-go would be bad. Based on the havoc we’ve seen on the app over the weekend, I think we can now confirm that it was.
Having taken over Twitter by immediately firing a huge portion of the app’s long-standing staff and carrying a sink into their offices in a cheesy attempt at a joke, Elon Musk’s purchase of the app was chaotic to say the least. And this was even before the events of this weekend.
Elon Musk made the decision last Friday to introduce a new scheme which would allow users to buy themselves a blue verification tick at a monthly rate. The decision raised more than a few eyebrows and ignited concerns that fake accounts would cause issues.
Since last Friday, Elon’s democratising of the blue tick has wreaked havoc. Accounts impersonating businesses have not only publicly shamed multi-billion dollar companies but have also had huge impacts on the stock market. One account pretending to be a US brand distributing insulin, Eli Lilly and Company, tweeted announcing “We are excited to announce insulin is free now”. Their stock promptly fell by 4.37%.
Whilst the imitations are obviously satirical, many of the messages behind them were based on genuine issues that Twitter users were using the blue check to raise. For example, many accounts imitating brands used their parody to make certain commentaries on their environmental impacts, with one user impersonating BP tweeting “Just cause we killed the planet, doesn’t mean we can’t miss it”.
Another user even began impersonating Tesla, Elon Musk’s own car manufacturing brand, tweeting statements like, “Everyone’s talking about Twitter going up in flames but our cars did that before it was cool” and “Honestly the 53% drop in stock price doesn’t phase us. If there’s anyone who knows about crashing it’s us..” Obviously, Elon was not happy.
He was even less excited about the accounts pretending to be him. Ever the jokester, some might have thought that Elon Musk would find this all hilarious; his whole sink bit was clearly supposed to build his reputation as Billionaire Funny Guy. However, it seems after recent events that he’s no longer laughing.
One user tweeted at Elon over the weekend, “It’s clear that leading Twitter is not among your many talents”. Maybe he should let that sink in.
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