In what should have been a reliable way for Twitter to show how you can tell if an account is real, the social network somehow went in the opposite direction and showed that it might not deserve your trust. A data scientist announced that fake accounts were found on Twitter and were bearing the blue checkmark that shows the accounts have been verified.
Discovery of Fake Accounts
How else would a data scientist notify the world of his Twitter discovery? Through a tweet, of course!
“Meet ‘ @aykacmis, @degismece, @onlamislar, @aykacti, @kayitlii, and #conmedim, a sextet of blue-check verified Twitter accounts created on June 16, 2021,” wrote the data scientist, who goes by the Twitter handle “Conspirador Norteño.” “None has yet tweeted, and all have roughly 1000 followers (and mostly the “same” followers).”
The tweet also contained screencaps of the profiles of the six fake accounts.
Not only do those approximately 1000 followers appear on all six of the fake Twitter accounts that were wrongly verified, the followersaccountsts also appear to be faked. While the six verified accounts all appear to have been created on June 16, the fake followers’ accounts were created on June 19 and June 20.
Twitter offers certain accounts the blue checkmark to show they are verified. Users will know that these accounts are not impostors, as only people who many strangers would seek out on the platform – such as entertainers, politicians, journalists, and activists – are supposed to get that distinguished status. Twitter just restarted offering the verifications again in May.
That data scientist found the six fake accounts while searching for “patterns” within recently verified accounts. Anyone can do this by looking up the @verified account to see which accounts its been following.
The whistleblower also said the fake Twitter accounts seem to belong to a botnet that uses an AI image generator to create profile pics.
“Very few of the accounts in this network have tweeted. The majority of the tweet content is spam in Korean sent via automation service dlvr(dot)it promoting a website,” said the data scientist.
Twitter’s Response to Discovery of Fake Accounts
Twitter responded to the data scientist’s announcement by admitting the fake accounts had been verified as a mistake. “We mistakenly approved the verification applications of a small number of inauthentic (fake) accounts,” said a Twitter spokesperson.
“We have now permanently suspended the accounts in question and removed their verified badge under our platform manipulation and spam policy.” Since the discovery, most of the botnet has been suspended.
Oddly, though, Twitter never mentioned why the fake accounts received the blue checkmark showing they were verified.