Twitter Blue users may have a tendency to spread false information about the conflict in Ukraine. The BBC reported that some of the most false and misleading posts about the conflict are being shared by subscribers with the blue checkmark – those who pay for their content to be promoted to other users.
Among the misinformation/disinformation that has gained steam on the social media platform include reports that weapons for Ukraine are being used in the riots in France, that Ukraine has “baby factories” where children are bred to have their organs harvested and sold in the West or are sent to “child sex brothels” or that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has “canceled” elections in his nation.
Both of the previous stories were debunked.
In the latter case at least, there is a small grain of truth—Ukraine’s constitution calls for elections to be held in peacetime. Ukraine’s elections have already been cancelled because the nation is under martial law following Russia’s invasion of February 2022. The issue gained momentum after former Fox News presenter and Twitter personality Tucker Carlson questioned if Zelensky was fighting for democracy, or attempting to make Ukraine a dictatorship.
Twitter has not responded to our request for comment
Unverified reports are spreading from verified accounts
Changes to Twitter’s verification system that were implemented earlier in the year have led to the fact that misinformation, disinformation and other types of false information are now being spread by Twitter Blue accounts. The current model allows anyone to be “verified”, and therefore seen as more reliable.
Cliff Lampe warns that Twitter Blue has changed.
Lampe said that for most disinformation campaign, it is important to appear as authentic as possible. Other disinformation campaigns used people who acted like’sleepers,’ created elaborate identities, or even sockpuppets, to verify the cover identity.
Twitter blue is a low-level attempt compared with other methods of establishing authenticity.
Lampe added that “since not everyone monitors the tech market, this might be a low-cost and effective strategy.”
Scott Talan said it is not all that shocking that these misinformation campaigns come from accounts claiming to be verified.
Talan stated that “it is nothing new, but still concerning.” There needs to be an established process for vetting and verifying anything.
Twitter Blue has changed this, according to him.
Talan said, “anyone with enough dollars can buy it.” A blue check, which used to have meaning before, is now available for anyone who has enough money. Pre-Musk it was hard to obtain and required proof of identity. Post-Musk the blue check has been “monefied.”
This could lead to a spread of misinformation on Twitter. This is something you can actually believe.