Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools' Joke Exposes Weakness in Twitter Verification

There was a prank in my Twitter feed today (April 1) that, on top of being very elegant, exposed a subtle loophole in Twitter's verification procedures.  (Here is a screenshot, in case the prank has been removed by now.) Notice the checkmark that indicates a verified account.

The prank involves two soccer players, Jozy Altidore, USMNT striker who was given a red card yesterday for cursing at the referee, and Mike Magee, star of MLS team Chicago Fire, known mischief maker.

Magee swapped the theme on his twitter account to make it look like he was Jozy Altidore and posted the spoof.  Normally, this sort of thing gets rejected easily because of the verification badge. But the badge is there.  I went looking to see how Magee had faked the badge.

He hadn't. Magee is also a celebrity and also has a verified account.  Anyone with a verified account can pretend to be someone else with a verified account, apparently.

So I think if I were Twitter, I would change the name field  for verified accounts to be immutable. Quickly, before Nathan Fillion finds out.

1 comment:

Joe Fox said...

I'm sure Nathan Fillion already knows. My guess is that between 1/4 and 1/2 of all celebrity tweets actually are he and Joss goofing around. It would explain so much!