Twitter users pose as video game companies, causing chaos

Twitter users pose as video game companies, causing chaos


Several Twitter accounts have used Twitter Blue’s purchasable blue check to impersonate video game companies. Some have posted fake ads for new (unfortunately non-existent) games. An account, posing as Nintendo of America, posted an image of Mario flipping the middle finger.

“Mario would never do that,” one person complained on Twitter.

“Well, he did,” the Nintendo impostor replied.

It’s been a tumultuous time for Twitter. On November 1, the social media company rolled out changes to Twitter Blue, allowing followers to receive the iconic blue checkered badge for $7.99 per month. The change led to widespread confusion. The blue tick previously meant that the identity of the account holder had been verified by the company; now it just means that a user has paid for Blue.

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On Friday, Twitter disabled subscriptions to Twitter Blue, citing “spoofing issues” in a memo sent to Twitter employees and seen by The Washington Post.

A user paid Twitter Blue for an account named @valvesotfware (note the clever typo), impersonating video game publisher and distributor Valve to post a fake game sequel announcement, bamboozle some players. The account later posted a follow-up tweet addressed to new Twitter owner Elon Musk about how easily the new Twitter Blue can be used to spread misinformation.

“Twitter Blue is a problem, misinformation is so easy to spread… You now own a massive platform and what you choose to do with it, do better,” the account wrote.

Another account, @RockstarGamse, impersonated the developer of Grand Theft Auto with a fake update on the studio’s upcoming title, “Grand Theft Auto VI”. All of these accounts were eventually suspended.

A Twitch parody account, which uses “twitch” as its display name but clearly describes itself as a parody account in its bio, is still active. On Wednesday, the account tweeted false changes to Twitch’s controversial revenue split. (Twitch is owned by Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post). Musk has already said Twitter users will be suspended if caught impersonating other parties, but parody accounts will still be allowed.

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Currently, the only way to check if an account’s blue tick means it’s a verified account or a Twitter Blue follower is to click on the badge itself next to the display name Account. A Twitter Blue account will be defined as “verified because they follow Twitter Blue”, while a blue verification via Twitter previous verification system will indicate that the account is “verified because notable” as a public figure.

Musk, who acquired Twitter for $44 billion in October, has been a popular target for copycats. Comedian Kathy Griffin and actress Valerie Bertinelli posed as Musk as they opposed Twitter’s new verification system.

Musk drew a lot of criticism for his aggressive early changes on Twitter. His approach to content moderation has made advertisers wary, and Musk has threatened a “thermonuclear name and shame” campaign against brands that leave the platform. Last week, he launched layoffs, aiming to cut the company’s staff by almost half.

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