Elon Musk’s new $8 blue checkmarks cause chaos on Twitter as scammers impersonate LeBron James

Elon Musk’s efforts to befriend Twitter users led to a rough moment for Los Angeles Lakers fans, who believed they were losing the LeBron James franchise.

“Thank you #LakersNation for all the support all year long,” read a tweet from the handle @KingJamez account. ‘To bigger and better things! #ThekidfromAKRON #ImComingHome. “

No, James was not sent back to Cleveland on a third assignment with the Cavaliers, but he was impersonated by a Twitter prankster. James’ account uses a slightly different indicator: KingJames.

The confusion was understandable, considering that James’s fake account was adorned with a blue check – Twitter’s traditional way of showing that the account’s user identity had been verified.

However, Musk promised to change that system after his $44 billion acquisition of the social media platform. The checkmarks will be available on an as-yet-unannounced date to anyone willing to pay a $7.99 per month subscription, which will also include some bonus features, like fewer ads and the ability to get tweets that give more visibility than those that come from non-subscribers.

Experts have expressed concern that making the check mark available to anyone for a fee could lead to impersonation, disinformation and scams.

The tweet, apparently from LeBron James, turned out to be completely fake despite Twitter’s renewed efforts to improve its verification system.

Elon Musk's efforts to befriend Twitter users led to a rough moment for Los Angeles Lakers fans, who believed they were losing the LeBron James franchise.

LeBron James didn't ask to trade away from the Lakers

Elon Musk’s efforts to befriend Twitter users led to a rough moment for Los Angeles Lakers fans, who believed they were losing the LeBron James franchise.

These concerns proved prescient for Lakers fans, who were persuaded to believe James was making his way out of Los Angeles. Given the team’s 2-8 start, such a request would be understandable for a title-focused player approaching 40.

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Twitter has already banned KingJamez by following Musk’s directive to suspend any user pretending to be someone else without clearly identifying them as a parody account.

Similarly, another user making fun of ESPN NFL’s Adam SchefferNOT even though it was clearly named: AdamSchefterNOT was commented.

Read a tweet from the @AdamSchefterNOT account: “Josh McDaniels is out as head coach for the Las Vegas Raiders, sources told ESPN.

There are about 423,000 verified accounts under the issued system. Many of them belong to celebrities, companies, politicians, as well as the media.

But a significant portion of the verified accounts belong to individual journalists, some of whom have scant followings in local newspapers and news sites around the world. The idea was to check reporters so that their identities could not be used to spread false information on Twitter.

Another user making fun of ESPN NFL's Adam SchefferNOT got suspended despite being clearly named: AdamSchefterNOT

Another user making fun of ESPN NFL’s Adam SchefferNOT got suspended despite being clearly named: AdamSchefterNOT

Musk sought to reassure major companies announcing on Twitter on Wednesday that his chaotic takeover of the social media platform would not harm their brands, acknowledging that some “dumb things” might happen en route to create what he says will be a better, safer user experience.

The latest erratic move in the minds of the major advertisers the company relies on for revenue was Musk’s decision to scrap a new “official” tag on high-profile Twitter accounts just hours after it was introduced.

Twitter began adding gray tags to some high-profile accounts on Wednesday, including brands like Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple, to indicate they are authentic. After a few hours, the stickers started to disappear.

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“Apart from being an aesthetic nightmare when looking at the Twitter feed, it was another way to create a two-tier system,” the billionaire CEO of Tesla told advertisers in an hour-long chat that was broadcast live on Twitter. “It wasn’t addressing the underlying problem.”

Media sites such as The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal have received an official designation, as have most of the major corporate brands. And then they went.

Musk sought to reassure major companies announcing on Twitter on Wednesday that his chaotic takeover of the social media platform would not harm their brands, acknowledging that some

Musk sought to reassure major companies announcing on Twitter Wednesday that his chaotic takeover of the social media platform won’t harm their brands, acknowledging that some “dumb things” may happen en route to creating what he says will be a better, safer user experience.

Before their disappearance, the posters were causing confusion. For example, users in London could see an “official” poster attached to a BBC News account, but the label did not appear to users in the United States.

YouTube personality and author John Green joked that he got the label, but his younger brother and ‘vlogger’ partner Hank Green didn’t make the cut. But then the John Green label also disappeared. Another popular YouTuber, Marquis Brownlee, who posts videos about the technology, tweeted that he had the tag, then tweeted again that it had disappeared, which caught the attention of Musk himself.

‘I just killed him,’ Musk replied, although it wasn’t clear at first whether he was specifically referring to the Brownlee brand or the entire project.

The gray label — a color that tends to blend into the background whether you’re using light or dark mode to scroll through Twitter — was an obvious compromise. But this was expected to lead to more confusion, as Twitter users used to the blue check as a sign of authenticity, now have to look for the less obvious “official” label.

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Esther Crawford, a Twitter employee who was working on a verification fix, said Tuesday on Twitter that the “official” label will be added to “select accounts” when the new system is launched.

Crawford, who was recently the subject of a viral photo showing her sleeping on the Twitter office floor while working on an interview with Musk, told Deadlines.

Those who will receive the mark will include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures, Crawford said. But after the tags started to disappear on Wednesday, she again took to Twitter to say “there are no more sacred cows in the product on Twitter.”

“Elon is willing to try a lot of things – many will fail and some will succeed,” she said. “The goal is to find the right mix of successful changes to ensure long-term health and growth of the business.”

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