On Friday, Twitter suspended the recently announced $8 blue check subscription service fake accounts are growing like mushrooms.
The coveted blue tick was previously reserved for verified accounts of politicians, celebrities, journalists and other public figures. But the subscription option, open to anyone willing to pay, was rolled out last week to help Twitter boost revenue as Musk battles to retain advertisers.
The premium service became unavailable on Friday after an account impersonating pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. and registered with the updated Twitter Blue system, tweeted that the insulin was free, prompting the Indianapolis-based company to issue an apology.
Nintendo, Lockheed Martin and Musk’s own companies Tesla and SpaceX were also targeted, as were the accounts of various professional sports and political figures. Others such as BP Oil, Coca-Cola and President George W. Bush were also targeted.
Meanwhile, a war of words erupted between Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and Musk over Twitter’s verification system.
On Friday, Marky criticized Twitter’s weak verification system and called out Musk for “putting profit before people and your debt before stopping misinformation.” His comments came after he gave a Washington Post reporter permission to impersonate him on Twitter.
Musk later responded by asking whether the columnist could easily impersonate Marky because his “real account sounds like a parody.”
Markey responded by telling Musk in a tweet, “Fix your campaigns. Or Congress will.”
There are reports of up to 5,500 contract workers engaged in content moderation are being cut following mass layoffs of about half of Twitter’s entire staff. Twitter’s communications staff has reportedly been fired.
The company did not respond to NewsNation’s request for comment after Musk took over more than three weeks ago.