I know none of us saw this coming, but Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover is not going well. Who might’ve guessed that a capricious, chaotic billionaire with the business instincts of a retired cop—and the sense of humor of a 14-year-old incel in his mother’s basement—buying a website for more than he can afford solely to own the libs wouldn’t go smoothly? Not me!
The self-identified Chief Twit is quite in over his balding head. Supposedly as a means to raise revenue (but moreso to delegitimize journalists), he introduced $8 “verification” through Twitter Blue subscriptions this week. As anyone could have predicted, giving a blue check to just any account has led to rampant impersonation and confusion, and Twitter is essentially up in flames as we speak. One specific impersonation on the website has cost a pharmaceutical company literal billions of dollars as of Thursday morning—more on that shortly!
In a Twitter Spaces talk on Wednesday, Musk said that Twitter Blue-verified impersonators would be flagged, lose their verification, and not get their money back—but he admitted “they can keep doing this” over and over. In a desperate Thursday night plea, he insisted that users engaging in parody impersonations must include “parody” in their display names—of course, there’s no way to enforce this. By Friday, Twitter paused the new paid verification program until it figures out how to crack down on impersonators. (One idea: Just take the hit to your ego and return to the actual verification system that’s been working for over a decade!)
What’s next for Twitter? Your guess is as good as mine! But as the platform descends into a dumpster fire, all any of us can do is sit back and enjoy the circus. Namely: the most out-of-pocket, deranged impersonations of brands and public figures ranging from Tesla and Eli Lilly to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ben Shapiro.