two birds on a power line, one asks "are you verified?" the other answers, "does it matter?" white IGV logo top right corner

In Fall 2022, Elon Musk purchased the social media giant Twitter for $44 billion. This sale has caused him millions in debt and pushed Twitter into bankruptcy. To increase cash flow, he has since made some changes to the network. The most controversial of changes made is the ability to buy verification or a “blue check” subscription. Being verified was once only a possibility for famous well-known account holders. Since this new feature, verification has become something that anyone can buy and reap the benefits. This has come with much chaos, like the impersonation of celebrities, companies and brands. November has been undeniably transformative at Twitter. Here is what’s been going down.  

What’s Going On?

Musk has made several changes to the company since acquiring it. He has changed the names of features such as “Birdwatch” to “Community Notes”. Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorcey said that the previous name “Birdwatch” was “a far better name”.  

Twitter meme about verification featuring NFT character

Next, Musk followed in the footsteps of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and began the downsizing. He fired 90% of staff from Twitter’s India headquarters, bringing their employee to ~12 people. Bloomberg reports that 70% of these cuts changed their product and engineering team. Gizmodo reports the number of employees on Twitter’s content moderator team (now known as the Safety and Trust team) fell from hundreds to only 15. Regarding the firings, some legal experts say that Musk has violated the Federal Trade Commission’s consent decree. Many of these former Twitter employees were luckily hired by companies like Meta and Google.  

The change gaining the most attention is the verified blue checkmark subscription feature. All users are able to buy an $8/month subscription granting them the iconic blue checkmark. The subscription has coined the name Twitter Blue. Anyone can obtain this subscription, but their verification comes with a disclaimer message. It states, “This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue”. Comparatively, accounts verified due to notoriety also have a message. Their message states, “This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainments or another designated category”. 

Many users’ justification for purchasing the subscription is out of concern their content will hide amongst the algorithm and stranded in a sea of this new influx of verified users. For content creators whose main source of income is networking through Twitter, this adds a whole new layer of limited exposure and invisibility to overcome.   

Of course, the Internet did its thing, and the memes began. 

Twitter meme about verification featuring four nearly identical verified accounts with pictures of random man with Elon Musk name and handle

Damage and Damage Control

An influx of fake accounts impersonating companies and celebrities, especially government officials began surfacing. 


To prove how easy it was to impersonate someone with Twitter Blue, Washington Post columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler impersonated (with permission) Senator Edward Markey and comedian Blair Erskine. 

Some of the worst cases of chaos seen have involved the impersonation of businesses.  

One account impersonated Nintendo of America and tweeted their video game character Mario making an inappropriate hand gesture.  

The pharmaceutical company giant Eli Lilly was also impersonated. the account with a blue check tweeted that, “We are excited to announce Insulin is free now”. Insulin is a very expensive necessity for those living with diabetes. So of course, the post received over a thousand retweets. Eli Lily’s stock price had plummeted before the official Eli Lilly account could chime in and kill the excitement.

Fake Eli Lilly tweet stating "We are excited to announce insulin is free now."
Real Eli Lilly account tweet that reads "We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @LillyPad."

Amongst basketball fans panic ensued following a tweet from a fake Lebron James account.

The tweet readI am officially requesting a trade Thank you #LakersNation for all the support through the years. 💯 Onto bigger and better things! 👑 #ThekidfromAKRON #ImComingHome. 

fake tweet from Lebron James stating "“I am officially requesting a trade Thank you #LakersNation for all the support through the years. (100 emoji) Onto bigger and better things! (crown emoji) #ThekidfromAKRON #ImComingHome"

Even Musk himself was not immune to impersonation and mockery. Comedians like Kathy Griffin parodied Musk by changing their profile picture and name to mirror his. This resulted in Ms. Griffin’s account suspension. One of the fake accounts that impersonated Musk took a personal swing. They referenced his relationship with ex and mother of his child the musician Grimes. The account tweeted “Starting today we’ll begin offering Twitter Gold: a free subscription that gets you yearly family vacations and nightly dinners with me. If your name is Grimes. Please come back. I love you.”. 

Fake tweet from Elon Musk account that reads, "Starting today we’ll begin offering Twitter Gold: a free subscription that gets you yearly family vacations and nightly dinners with me. If your name is Grimes. Please come back. I love you."

Twitter was also impersonated. The account was able to scam users by claiming to grant free verification. The account was given access to user’s crypto wallets through the link “”. The tweet stated, “Woah, Twitter Blue is now available for free by authenticating their wallet assets. Authenticate now: Ps, there might be a little surprise after authenticating… bird NFT? 👀”.  

fake twitter account used to scam users.


Musk’s Insight  

Musk responded to the issues at a Twitter space. He nonchalantly admitted that this new Twitter Blue feature may be “a dumb decision, but we’ll see”. As well, with humility stating: “Please note that Twitter will do lots of things in coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t”. The statement is equal parts concerning and reassuring.

 On what users can do about impersonation and scamming, he tweeted “Report as soon as you see it. Troll/bot networks on Twitter are a *dire* problem for adversely affecting public discourse & ripping people off. Just dropping their prominence as a function of probable gaming of the system would be a big improvement.”.

Real Elon Musk tweet addressing what to do about impersonators and scammers.

On November 6th, Musk published a Tweet about parody accounts. He wrote, “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended” and “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will clearly be identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter blue”.

Elon Musk's tweet regarding parody account policy and suspensions.

The Value of Twitter Verification is Questioned:

Twitter user mocking Elon Musks' new plans for Twitter

Another verified user Michael Nordine (@slowbeard) replied to his Tweet with a humorous synopsis of Musk’s changes saying, “phase 1: overpay for the bird app phase 2: make everything about it worse phase 3: ??? phase 4: profit!”

Twitter’s Guidelines

Twitter also revealed their verification requirements. 

On their page, they note the “definition of verification and the accompanying blue checkmark is changing”. In response to the misuses of verification they stated, “Please note, minimize impersonation risks, display name changes will be restricted on Verified accounts” and that, “Twitter Blue subscribers’ blue checkmarks may be taken away at any time for any reason at all by Twitter, including as the result of certain types of violations of the Twitter Rules, including but not limited to our rules around spam, ban evasion, and impersonation”.  

Also, Twitter noted in the new verification requirements there are new profile labels such as the Official profile label that applies to “government accounts (institutional accounts, elected or appointed officials, and multilateral organizations)*[*State-affiliated media and government accounts that play a role as a geopolitical or official Government communication channel display a unique label], certain political organizations such as political parties, commercial companies including business partners, major brands, media outlets and publishers, and some other public figures”.   

However, as Geoffrey A. Fowler discovered in his article, there was a bug on the mobile app. The bug mistakenly displayed a message claiming his fake account was verified for being notable a person. Part of the issue that allowed Fowler to conduct his fake accounts is Twitter’s lack of identification verification. Fowler said that he “used an old iPhone with its own test Apple ID and [his] regular credit card to fund the purchase. At no point did it ask [him] to show some real ID, or even question why [he] was using a name that was identical to a legacy verified account (Erskine has more than 430,000 followers), or a high-level government official”.

Bugs Bugging

Additionally, official verified accounts had issues changing their name. This was confirmed to be a system bug. For example, the musician Doja Cat was unable to change her name from “Christmas”. She tweeted Musk directly and he promptly fixed the bug. Then, Doja Cat changed her name to “fart”. Shortly after, she joined others by changing her name to “Elon Musk” with an unflattering pre-billionaire profile photo of him. 

twitter thread of Doja Cat asking Elon Musk to allow her to change her name. Then coyly changing her name to Elon Musk and impersonating him.

 New Checkmark Colors

After all the blue check mark scandals, Musk announced Twitter will be introducing new colours to code verified accounts. Blue checkmarks will be for individual. Gold checkmarks will be used by brands and companies. Grey checkmarks will be for government accounts. These new checkmarks are set to launch next week, on December 2nd.   

 November at Twitter from a Glance 

Final Thoughts on Twitter for Business

The reality is, faulty or not, Twitter isn’t going away anytime soon. It will continue to be a social media giant. Nowadays, Twitter is also the first place that news (or fake news) will surface. Thus, being Twitter-adjacent can help keep you “in the loop”. If you’re a business that has yet to join the Twitter community, you should. Especially if your customer or client base occupies the Internet. We hope this article didn’t scare you off Twitter’s new feature. Concerning the Twitter Blue bandwagon, it seems that Twitter has got it under control and it’s safe to hop on. The best way to get your business recognition (to be proud of) is to be active on your profile and to (respectfully) interact with other users on Twitter.  

Additional Reading:

The Pros & Cons of Twitter Advertising 

Article By:

 Mars Saskia Katrina Verbeek | LinkedIn

Twitter has over 300 million active monthly users and can be a great place to reach a large number of people. Twitter announced that advertising would be available back in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the advertising was open to everyone. While Twitter advertising isn’t as developed as Facebook or Google Ad Words there are still benefits to advertising on Twitter.


Narrow Segmentation

Twitter ads allow you to narrowly segment who your ad is shown to. You can narrow your audience by using keywords, common interests (Twitter has 350 interest categories to choose from), or you can even use your own CRM list to target even more precisely. You can also choose the objective of your Twitter ads, such as gaining more followers, website clicks or conversions, tweet engagements, app installs, or engagement leads. The best part is you only pay if someone performs the exact outcome that you want them to. For example, if you are trying to grow your followers, you will only pay if someone clicks the follow button on your promoted tweet.

Multiple Types of Ads

You also have several options for the type of ad you want to run. You can run a promoted tweet where you create a tweet that is pushed out onto timelines that match your target (similar to a Facebook ads). You can promote your account, which will show your account in timelines to encourage people to follow you. You can also run a promoted trend, which will show up on the left-hand side in the trending box. Keep in mind that promoted trends are very expensive, on average it costs around $200,000 per day to run a promoted trend. Twitter also allows you to choose where your ad shows up — it can be shown in search results, timelines, and on profiles.


Lagging in Analytics

There are some drawbacks to Twitter ads, the first of which is that the reporting may not be as vigorous as some other options like Facebook and Google. Twitter does provide you with analytics around your campaign, but it may not be as in-depth or user-friendly as some other platforms.

Easy to Be Missed

Since Twitter is a constant stream of information, your ad may be missed by someone who would be interested simply because it got lost in the clutter.

Hard to Prove ROI

It can also be hard to prove if someone actually purchased something because they saw and clicked on your ad, so it can be hard to get a correct ROI from your ads.

Overall, Twitter ads benefit small businesses by allowing them to specifically narrow and target the audience that the ad is shown to. You can also set the maximum amount your willing to spend on the entire campaign, the amount you’re willing to pay per click, and daily maximums as well. While the platform does have disadvantages, it is possible to find success with Twitter ads. It’s definitely worth a try to see if they will work for your business and audience.

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