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Twitter Verification Causes Credibility Problems

In April 2023, the social media company Twitter, under the direction of its new owner Elon Musk, eliminated its previous verification standards. Since 2009, a blue check mark next to a Twitter account signified a form of verification meant to guarantee a user’s identity. It was used to weed out charlatans impersonating famous or notable people or organizations, and gave users a reliable indicator of authenticity to counter disinformation on the platform.

But under Musk, blue check marks are now exclusively reserved for users who subscribe to Twitter Blue, a premium service. This change has created a crisis for people who tend to rely on the service for newsgathering purposes. For example, the NY Times reported that within 24 hours, there were eleven different accounts impersonating the Los Angeles Police Department.

One researcher tweeted, “This is going to be chaos for emergency services.” Because Twitter is often a source of credible information during national disasters or other forms of local crisis, the change will make it harder for people to receive emergency services.

Podcaster Josh Boerman posted a satirical tweet impersonating New York City Mayor Eric Adams. In it he claimed that the NYPD budget would be slashed by 70%. He said, “Pretty much everybody got that it was a joke immediately—I wasn’t trying to mislead anyone. The point was that this can be both a joke on the state of the network as well as an opportunity to think about the way that media is disseminated.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Without a standard by which sources are verified as being truthful and trustworthy, people are left to their own devices. Similarly, without God's Word, we have no way of arriving at ultimate truth.

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