Twitter’s original verification system served a very straightforward function: to assure users that they were following an authentic account belonging to an individual or business. As we’ve seen from Elon Musk’s “pain”-filled Twitter, the blue checkmark now means one of two things: (1) a user ponied up $8 per month to have it; or (2) Elon foisted the mark upon them, and they really don’t want it.
Handfuls of celebrities have now pushed back after Elon “gifted” checkmarks to them. That includes Stephen King (and his reaction spawned horror jokes) and Lil Nas X, who has vowed vengeance against “Tesla man.”
Then there are the almost inevitable mistakes that will come from selling business verification at a $1000 price tag after meeting mystery standards. No one knows if the error in question actually sprang from someone paying the full fee (Elon is apparently gifting free badges to businesses who meet a follower threshold), but the error is arguably as egregious as when a verified but imposter Eli Lilly account made fake “free insulin” claims, thereby tanking the actual Eli Lilly’s stock price. That happened last fall and appeared to be a case of some prankster swapping out their handle and name after verification. And presumably, that’s what led to a new policy of temporary checkmark removal for all handle/name changes until approved.
That supposed safeguard, however, didn’t save Twitter from committing a seriously embarrassing mistake involving a fake Disney Junior U.K. parody account. This was a relatively long-standing account, according to Variety, meaning that someone must have flubbed the verification approval process, which even surprised the account’s f-bomb-dropping owner:
The owner of the @DisneyJuniorUK account appeared to be as surprised at their new verification status as the account’s 2,628 followers, tweeting: “No f*cking way. This isn’t actually real right. Someone f*cking pinch me or something” alongside a screenshot of the account’s profile page with the gold checkmark circled.
From there — and the account has since been suspended — the account began to drop racial slurs and make jokes about “Disney hitmen,” too:
In a poll retweeted by the Disney Junior U.K. account, @7virtues_ wrote: “should i deactivate the disney junior uk account for a while so i dont get murked by the disney hitmen” with the options being “”Yeah.Ye;yah… ye.s,..,,y” and “NOT AT ALL N****” At the time of writing, almost 2,000 people had voted in the poll, with over 88% encouraging @7virtues_ to keep the Disney Junior U.K. account.
Yikes. As you can see below, the account owner was seen claiming that they snapped up the handle nearly two years ago (after, as Variety points out, Disney Jr U.K. shuttered its use of the handle). Among other rantings, the owner claimed that South Park was coming to Disney+ streaming and kept the charade going for several hours after verification until someone finally shut the monstrosity down. (It’s going great over there.)
i think twitter fucked up and gave a verified pissmark to a gimmick account. and for disney, of all corporations. pic.twitter.com/wccxdgu7OB
— jenny_tightpants (@halomancer1) April 24, 2023
now why would elon suspend the official gold badge specially verified by twitter disney junior UK account?? pic.twitter.com/r4ICwRG71H
— stick (@briggityboppity) April 24, 2023
Twitter finally suspended the fake Disney account, but not before letting it spend £1000 on corporate verification pic.twitter.com/Gh6UDOxlPG
— Andy Castell (@AJ3) April 24, 2023