Tesla critics are testing Elon Musk’s new Twitter policy


Tesla critics are testing Elon Musk’s new Twitter policy about parody accounts, and they even forced the CEO to change it and ban them.

One of the first changes that Musk implemented after acquiring Twitter is rolling out the “verified” feature, which was originally intended to confirm that the person behind a specific account was the real person, into a Twitter subscription service – and then increase the price of that subscription service to $8 per month.

What that change did was give everyone who has $8 the ability to get the verified checkmark and make their account look more official.

Musk’s stated goal with the change was to curb bot accounts trying to scam people since they would have to pay $8 per month to look official – though the new revenue stream from something that was free before was likely also a significant driver of the change.

The move created a new problem though where scammers willing to pay the $8 per month would actually get a verified account, boosting their credibility and helping in whatever goal they had.

People illustrated that to Musk last week by changing their accounts to make it look like Musk’s and tweeting things that he wouldn’t. It forced Musk to institute a new rule that if you make your account look like someone else’s, you have to put in your profile’s bio that it is a “parody” account.

Following this new rule, a Tesla critic created a verified account that looked like Tesla’s official account, but it had a mention that it was a parody in its bio.

It started tweeting some wild things that made Tesla look bad, and some of the tweets were seen by tens of thousands of people:

Some tweets were more obviously not coming from Tesla than others, but the verified checkmark likely confused some people, and the account quickly gained thousands of followers.

It also quickly got Musk’s attention:

As the account was gaining traction, Musk quickly announced a policy change to force parody accounts to include the fact that it’s a parody directly in their name and not just their bio:

After Musk made the announcement, the fake Tesla account was quickly suspended.

Twitter also suspended accounts of people making fun of Musk in a similar way after introducing the new parody account rule.

Electrek’s Take

This is such a mess. Hopefully, not too many people got tricked by it, but you can clearly see how this can become a problem.

It looks like Musk has succeeded in limiting the number of spam bots, but he also enabled them to be more impactful.

Though over time, the impact should be less as the verified tag loses value since anyone can buy it.

Right now, some of the most-liked tweets on Twitter are just thousands and thousands of replies to Musk’s followers laughing at them for paying $8 to get the checkmark:

While I obviously disagree with a lot of what the fake Tesla account was saying, it looks like they were following the rules until Musk changed them. It doesn’t seem fair to ban them unless they try to scam people with the account, like selling fake Tesla merchandise.

When buying Twitter, Musk announced that you can now have fun on the social media platform again – just not at his or Tesla’s expense it looks like.

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