Home USA News Here’s how to spot imposters and scammers on Twitter

Here’s how to spot imposters and scammers on Twitter

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Twitter users are trying to navigate the social media platform's big changes in review as they periodically roll out.

Twitter users are trying to navigate the social media platform’s big changes in review as they periodically roll out.

Maria Shalabaeva via Unsplash

From sports Twitter to government agency Twitter, users are trying to adjust to big changes in how they verify social media.

Some users have already been set up accounts that paid $7.99 per month for a new Twitter Blue subscription for a blue verification check. For others, their account “official” designation, deployed November 9 to check real accounts before reversing later that day, may have been the first to go.

Here’s what happened to the Washington State Department of Emergency Management’s Twitter account. Officials said the account’s “official” designation had been removed from the profile and suggested the blue check mark could be next on the block.

“Well, that didn’t last long,” department officials tweeted. “As our ‘official’ designation fades away and our blue @Twitter tick is likely next, a quick note on the best ways to verify the identity of government Twitter accounts around you.”

The agency encouraged users to check the web address in the government agency’s Twitter bio for a .gov address.

“For us, we connect our Twitter account to our website to verify that we are who we say we are. Mil.wa.gov (The .gov address provides some security that we are a government website.)”

The link takes you to the Washington Department of Defense’s web page, which shows the agency’s latest Facebook and Twitter posts.

The agency also recommended checking how many years of account and wrote that the agency’s account was created back in 2009.

“However, some government accounts are newer,” officials wrote, adding that you should also check to see if other government accounts are signing up for the one you suspect is authentic.

Google’s search engine optimization (also known as SEO) has safeguards in place, the agency explained.

“So if you Google the name of the agency + Twitter for account fact-checking, it generally prefers actual accounts that aren’t bots AND the agency’s website may appear (but not always),” officials wrote.

Some users had questions in the comments, including whether the Washington Department of Emergency Management and other agencies wanted to use other platforms “after the Twitter exodus.”

“We’re on Facebook and Nextdoor. We discussed TikTok and some prior permissions for that platform,” the officials wrote. “Nothing more at the moment.”

One user responded with a great hack they just read about on another twitter, explaining that if you click on the blue checkmark on the account page, a window will pop up explaining whether the account verification was paid for through a Twitter Blue subscription, or if it is validated “because it is prominent in government, news, entertainment, or other specified categories.”

Others simply joked about the situation.

“This looks suspiciously like what a fake government emergency management page wants from me,” wrote one user.

“How about asking the bills if they’ll show their legs. It will work,” quipped another.

Brooke (she/they) is a McClatchy Real-Time reporter covering LGBTQ+ news and national parks in the West. They studied journalism at the University of Florida and previously covered LGBTQ+ news for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. When they are not writing stories, they enjoy spending time with their cats, horseback riding, or spending time outdoors.

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