Twitter has a new owner, and it has changed everything.
In the past week, Elon Musk (the new owner of Twitter) implemented a paid verification plan to monetise the famous blue verification tick. Within this new plan, any customer was able to receive a blue verification tick to be verified on Twitter. As you can imagine this opened up the floodgates for trollers and scammers who were able to create fake accounts and appear as ‘verified’ for only $8 a month.
The new method of achieving the blue tick started off harmless, with people obtaining it after paying the fee and showing the tick off to their friends for a moment of glory amongst their peers. This glory was then flooded out with Robin Hood-like actions on the platform. Users were creating new accounts, using the names of big brands and celebrities before the official users had the opportunity to get their own verification tick.
One of the most impactful mocking accounts over this whole ordeal was one user, who created a fake account of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. The user then went ahead to obtain the verification tick before the official company. The fake account announced that Eli Lilly was going to make the insulin that would normally be sold for $400 would be free for everyone. This then saw the company's stock drop by 4% costing them billions, for the price of $8. The official Eli Lilly has since written an apology post, however, this backfired with the community saying they should apologise for the price they are selling insulin for with people like Bernie Sanders calling them out.
Since this debacle, Twitter has attempted to reconcile the issue by adding an “Official” label on certain accounts, making their new paid verification plan redundant.
What can we learn from this? This activity over the past week has shown the impact that people can have when given the opportunity to act on something they believe in, and that technology and social media are such volatile spaces. It makes you wonder why we spend so much time focused on that side of life.