Twitter says it mistakenly verified a small number of fake accounts and has now permanently suspended them.
The fake accounts were discovered by data scientist Conspirador Norteño, who found six verified accounts that were all created on June 16th. They all had zero tweets and two of them had used stock images as profile pictures.
The accounts also had 976 suspicious followers in common, all of which were created during the same time period. Norteño notes that the accounts were all part of a botnet.
Meet @aykacmis, @degismece, @anlamislar, @aykacti, @kayitlii, and @donmedim, a sextet of blue-check verified Twitter accounts created on June 16th, 2021. None has yet tweeted and all have roughly 1000 followers (and mostly the *same* followers).
cc: @ZellaQuixote pic.twitter.com/V82Wtu0SNr
— Conspirador Norteño (@conspirator0) July 12, 2021
“We mistakenly approved the verification applications of a small number of inauthentic accounts,” the social media giant told the Daily Dot in a statement.
“We have now permanently suspended the accounts in question, and removed their verified badge, under our platform manipulation and spam policy.”
Norteño notes that most of the botnet has been taken down.
Twitter recently relaunched its public verification requests, allowing users to apply to receive the coveted blue check if they meet the criteria.
An account needs to be notable, active and authentic in order to be verified, which the fake accounts were not. This latest mishap shows that the process may be having some problems.