In a drive to offer free verification to top organizations, Twitter briefly gave a gold checkmark to a fake Disney account. The gold checkmark indicates that the account belongs to a company. It is related to the Blue for Business offering.
The social network applying checkmarks to organizations with large followings slipped up and awarded it to @DisneyJuniorUK, which is now suspended.
As Verity spotted first, the account follower count and content didn’t seem to resonate with Disney’s official brand. The suspended account had also used racial slurs in tweets, the report noted.
After getting the gold checkmark, the account tweeted “this isn’t actually real right? someone fucking pinch me or something.”
After gaining the checkmark, the account followers jumped from around 1,400 to more than 4,700. This means verified organization accounts (even the fake ones) could see a jump in visibility.
Twitter offers organizational verification for a $1,000 non-refundable fee. Plus, it charges $50 extra for each affiliate account. Unless Disney asked for this rogue account to be affiliated, Twitter just handed out the checkmark on its own without a proper review.
We have asked Disney for a comment and will update the story if we hear back.
Twitter removed legacy checkmarks last week, resulting in notable people like the Pope, Shakira and Beyonce without a checkmark. Over the weekend, the company has been reinstating checkmarks for accounts with more than 1 million followers — even if they didn’t pay for it.
Last year, when the social media company launched paid verification under Elon Musk, the lack of protection around impersonation led to the creation of fake celebrity and brand accounts. Those accounts then spread misinformation within minutes.