Verifying if an account is genuine or not is a very tricky business for social media platforms. All of the popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been plagued with fake accounts that are either used to spam or make fake posts that serve an agenda. Although these companies try their best to verify accounts and determine if they are real or not, it seems that some still pass through the vetting process nonetheless.
Twitter recently relaunched its public verification program to better verify new accounts and make sure no spam accounts are made. However, it seems that some accounts still made it through their new system. This news came to light when a data scientist named Conspirador Norteño, discovered that six accounts had been verified by Twitter but none of them had a single tweet. You can take a look at Conspirador’s tweet below.
Two of the accounts had used stock photographs for their profile pictures. Conspirador continued their tweet with more statistics on these accounts. They said that “Two of these six accounts (@kayitlii and @aykacti) have photographs of people as their profile pics. Despite the presence of the blue verification checkmark, neither image is likely to depict the account holder as both images appear to be stolen”.
They further explained that “These six newly-created verified accounts have 977 followers in common. One is @verified (which follows all blue-check verified accounts). The other 976 were all created on June 19th or June 20th, 2021, and all follow the same 190 accounts”. A Twitter spokesperson also came out to explain the situation. They said that “We mistakenly approved the verification applications of a small number of inauthentic (fake) accounts”.
Twitter has since banned these accounts. They further said that “We have now permanently suspended the accounts in question, and removed their verified badge, under our platform manipulation and spam policy”. Conspirador explained that all of these accounts were part of a botnet and Twitter managed to ban 5 of them before the 6th one deactivated their account. Looks like Twitter’s criteria of a verified account i.e “authentic, notable, and active” seemed to perfectly fit these accounts.
All of this raises questions on just how did these accounts get through Twitter’s new verification program. Have people already found a loophole in the new system although it hasn’t been that long since launch? We can only speculate at this point but we should usually go by the notion that anything and everything is crackable.