Twitter Will Let Brands Verify Associated Accounts Following Parody Chaos

To those on the outside, it appears Elon Musk is making Twitter changes based on little more than impulse, and that hasn't proven particularly fruitful. Musk rallied hard on the notion of bringing "power to the people" by charging them $8 per month for a verification badge — meaning, of course, that the badge would be completely worthless when it came to actually verifying the authenticity of an account. Twitter's new owner seemed to dismiss those concerns early by, for example, replying to a tweet about the potential issue with a crying laughing emoji face.

However, it didn't take long for the new Twitter Blue subscription to catastrophically backfire as trolls made seemingly verified accounts that imitated popular brands like Nintendo, using those accounts to troll the public or post otherwise amusing content that the brands would never share. 

In some cases, such as the fake yet seemingly verified Nintendo account that tweeted an image of Mario giving viewers the middle finger, the trolling was simply funny. In other cases, however, these accounts may have had major consequences for those unintentionally caught up in the madness. This seemingly triggered a quick change at Twitter, which pulled the Blue subscription, and now Musk is back to reveal another upcoming feature — one that, funnily enough, revolves entirely around actual verification.

Brands will soon have a new type of verification option

The number of troll and parody accounts that took advantage of Twitter's pay-per-badge monetization plan was huge, even leading to the formation of a dedicated subreddit called RealTwitterAccounts that amassed thousands of followers in only a few days. Regardless of the new subscription, the verification badge still has a single meaning to many people who see it: authenticity. That's a big problem for companies that found their accounts subjected to parodies that, in the eyes of viewers, seemed just as legitimate as the real account. 

Musk appeared to initially address this by mandating that parody accounts had to display the word parody, but that didn't work out quite well enough, so he later updated the mandate, noting that the word parody has to be in the account's display name. Of course, trolls who don't care about eventual suspension could continue to ignore that rule and use seemingly verified accounts for general mischief and laughs.

In a tweet on November 13, Musk announced that brands on Twitter will soon have a new way to "identify which other Twitter accounts are actually associated with them," though no additional information on this plan was provided — aside from the fact that it will be "rolling out soon." Whether this will involve a label or some type of new badge is unclear, but whatever it is will likely need to be readily visible to casual readers, otherwise, it may not be enough to stop the trolls.