Fake News and Twitter’s Controversial Change

Fake News and Twitter’s Controversial Change

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According to recent updates by Elon Musk, Twitter will soon remove verification for those who refuse to pay.

For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter’s verification methods, if the account is deemed to belong to a government official, celebrity or a generally well known person, a blue check mark will appear next to their name – indicating that the account your perusing indeed belongs to that same person.

Now, Twitter is set to begin removing check marks from verified users who refuse to pay for the platform’s subscription service, one of the biggest changes to the company’s core product since billionaire Elon Musk bought it.

“It’s an information integrity nightmare,” said Jessica Brandt, the policy director for the Brookings Institution’s artificial intelligence and emerging technology initiative. “Blue check marks were originally intended to be signals of information quality and putting them up for sale is a pretty quick way to destroy that functionality.”

Twitter hasn’t released official numbers on how many verified users have paid for the service, but there are indications that not many are.

Travis Brown, a programmer and former Twitter employee who tracks activity on the site through a grant from Germany’s nonprofit Open Knowledge Foundation, has written programming code to track paid accounts. As of last Sunday, he said he found fewer than 8,000 legacy accounts had started paying for the service.

The disappearing checkmark is not only a hassle for already established and legitimate accounts, this change might bring a new wave of false information and false identify accounts trying to suede the public. Without an official marker of identity verification, anybody can pose to be anybody, creating a dangerous downward slop and fertile ground for cyber criminals to interject public life.