'Verified' Twitter accounts impersonate Bush, Blair, pro-Israel groups as new rules ridiculed by users
The accounts were quickly blocked by Twitter's moderators, though only after posting messages that were retweeted thousands of times.
"I miss killing Iraqis 😞," tweeted one "verified" account with the Twitter handle 'GeorgeWBushs' on Thursday.
The tweet was then retweeted in agreement by another blue-ticked account impersonating former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who alongside Bush spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
"Same tbh." wrote the parody account 'MPTonyBlair'.
The Bush parody account also ridiculed Musk's new Twitter rules.
“Y’all are missing the point about the $8,” the account said, referring to the new subscription fee for verification.
“It’s a small price to make this app completely unusable and I’m assuming he [Musk] is going to quickly learn we can get refunds from the credit cards we used if he suspends us prior to a month”.
😂 Tony Blair and George Bush got verified too pic.twitter.com/f5TXXHR0jz— John Smith (@CoffeeNutSydney) November 10, 2022
A verified account also impersonated the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), tweeting: "We ❤️ apartheid".
A verified parody account impersonating the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League replied: "same ❤️".
Parody accounts also impersonated NBA star LeBron James and hockey player Connor McDavid.
In a bid to combat the fake accounts, Twitter re-introduced grey “official” labels to some prominent accounts. The company, in its second chaotic week after billionaire Musk took over, had rolled out the labels earlier this week, only to kill them a few hours later.
But on Thursday night they were back again, at least for some accounts — including Twitter's own, as well as big companies like Amazon, Nike and Coca-Cola. Some media companies, such as The New York Times and The New Yorker also had the labels.
Celebrities, some of whom have been impersonated this week since Musk began overhauling Twitter's “blue check” verification system, also did not appear to be getting the “official” label.
Twitter began offering a subscription service this week that for $8 a month gets anyone who wants — without actual verification — the blue check mark that previously was given to prominent accounts to prevent impersonation.
Now, there are two categories of "blue checks," and the check marks look identical.
One, which includes the accounts that were actually verified before Musk took helm, now note that “This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category.” The other notes that the account subscribes to Twitter Blue.
Earlier on Thursday, Musk tweeted that “too many corrupt legacy Blue 'verification' checkmarks exist, so no choice but to remove legacy Blue in coming months.”
Agencies contributed to this report.