February 8, 2023

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Why are these fake Roblox and Ohio Governor Twitter accounts still active?

And yet, some high-profile impersonators have stayed on the platform for hours or even days, flouting Musk’s rules by not having “parody” in their username. The tweets are growing in popularity, increasing the threat to the Twitter brand in the eyes of advertisers.

Let’s look at some of the accounts that are still active at the time of writing:

A screenshot taken on November 11th at 8:08pm ET.

A screenshot taken on November 11th at 8:08pm ET.

An account parodying Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine has also escaped despite a ban his ten hour old tweet with over 2,000 retweets announcing the governor’s plan to “wipe out the people of Columbus.”

Rip to Columbus I guess.

Rip to Columbus I guess.

To be clear, Twitter is taking action against some of the accounts. As of this writing, an account impersonating Senator Chuck Grassley has been suspended, although it took almost a full day for any of his tweets to garner tens of thousands of likes. Similarly, a fake Donald Trump account had several tweets with tens of thousands of likes and one with over 10,000 retweets, and never identified itself as a parody.

Screenshot of a verified account, @GrassleychuckE, tweeting,

This tweet lasted almost 24 hours.

Still, it’s bad for Twitter that these tweets persist for so long, especially those from fake brands. From now on, the company relies on advertising as its main source of income. And advertisers have shown that they’re not big fans of a platform where people can convincingly impersonate them. There have been several very brand-unsafe viral tweets — perhaps one of the most infamous was someone posing as pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announcing that insulin was free.

The company’s official account later released an apology saying people were being fooled by the counterfeiter. Both Eli Lilly and Lockheed Martin, the had a scammer of his ownhave seen dramatic falls in their stock prices on Friday, although it’s impossible to say for sure if the tweets were even partially responsible.

@SpaceXOfficiall tweeted,

The account behind this tweet has since been suspended, but it took a surprisingly long time for that to happen.

On Thursday, Musk replied to someone talking about Nintendo and President Joe Biden fake posts with two laughing emojis as shown in this incredible compilation of impersonators (most of which have since been banned, per Twitter Policy). I doubt he laughs much today, though; Omnicom, one of the world’s largest advertising companies with clients including Apple, PepsiCo and McDonalds, has issued a memo advising its clients to hold back on advertising with Twitter for a while.

Musk has since said that Twitter “will add a ‘parody’ index for clarity,” but it’s unclear if accounts will have to label themselves as parodies or if Twitter itself will make that decision.