Users are being suspended on Twitter after creating parody accounts of public figures in an effort to point out the massive flaws in Elon Musk’s new verification system.
Musk's purchase of the company has been public and messy, and by the time he sat down as the new owner of Twitter, he wanted us to know that we were allowed to be funny again under his leadership, announcing: “Comedy is now legal on Twitter." Thank you, Elon!
And then changes started rolling in.
He laid off staff en masse and introduced Twitter Blue, the service that allows you to pay $7.99 in exchange for a blue check, in an effort to make the platform more profitable.
What a wonderful thing, to pay just $7.99 a month to be a cool cat with a badge! Ripe for memes and trolling! Verified users like Kathy Griffin started changing their profiles to mimic Musk’s and tweeted posts impersonating him to point out the glaring problem of identity fraud and misinformation. Unfortunately, that kind of comedy was simply not legal on Twitter, and Griffin along with other figures had their accounts suspended.
“Even though Jeffery Epstein committed horrible crimes, I do still miss him on nights like this for his warmth and comradery. Rest In Peace old friend,” @h3h3productions, who had changed their name and image to Elon Musk, tweeted before being temporarily banned.
In response, Musk’s team rolled out Twitter Official, which was a second check on top of the blue check to let you know that this person was, well, verified. That lasted less than a week, but a glorious few days of memes around the confusing logic applied to this move. “I just killed it,” Musk wrote on Wednesday in reply to video producer Marques Brownlee.
“Blue check will be the great leveler,” Musk said.
Musk also announced no verified account would be allowed to change its name after many accounts made fun of him. Doja Cat’s handle at this point was “christmas,” which she posted in a panic that she wouldn’t be able to change it back. “how do i change it also fuck you elon,” she tweeted Thursday.
This style of trolling is not new. Comedian Jaboukie Young-White first built his following off of public figure impersonation satire, like when he took on the image of the 2019 live-action film Cats and wrote, “The Cats in Cats (2019) will have realistically spiked penises.” After he mimicked the FBI, CNN, and Donald Trump, Twitter stripped him of his verification and suspended his account.
But Twitter Blue is active, so it’s open season now. Many have taken it upon themselves to make comedy legal again, and have “maximum fun,” as Musk wanted. For just $7.99, you can be anyone you want, and be the funniest person on the internet until Musk puts you in his Twitter jail. The account @RudyGiulianiESQ was suspended after getting verified and posting top-tier content like “Nancy Pelosi and I do not agree on many things, but them thangs thangin I’ll tell you what,” and, “I’d like to announce I shidded,” among others.
@MPTonyBlair and @GeorgeWBushs were also suspended, but not before they both let us know they “miss killing Iraqis.”
Very much alive public figure Jesus announced he got Twitter Blue as well.
Nintendo impersonator @nlntendoofus posted Mario giving us the finger, and verified account @pantscord President Joe Biden let us know what he was up to in the White House.
The list of impersonations also extended to celebrities, like Dave Chappelle and O.J. Simpson.
And it came full circle back to Twitter itself.
On Thursday, Musk tweeted that he would be removing “legacy verified users” who have blue checks for their status as government officials, celebrities, journalists, companies, or otherwise. Those who have paid for Twitter Blue this month received a notification that their subscription would be canceled.
“Far too many corrupt legacy Blue ‘verification’ checkmarks exist, so no choice but to remove legacy Blue in coming months,” he wrote in reply to a disgruntled Blue user, whose past verification as a public figure was usurped by her Blue blue check.