Feeds

Twitter fights celeb imposters with Verified Account scheme

Attempt to kybosh 'Kanye' and stymie 'Spector'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Twitter has detailed plans to clamp down on celebrity imposters with a "verified account" service.

The move follows a lawsuit by St Louis Cardinals boss Tony La Russa over bogus tweets made in his name, as well as the creation of numerous other counterfeit celebrity profiles over recent months.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone dismissed La Russa's lawsuit as "an unnecessary waste of judicial resources bordering on frivolous", but nonetheless acknowledged that the microblogging service had to do more to restore trust in the authenticity of accounts. Impersonation violates Twitter's Terms of Service, and the microblogging services already suspends or transfers control of accounts identified as fraudulent.

That doesn't stop anyone creating a fake account in the first place, however. To restore faith in the authenticity of celebrity profiles, Twitter plans to add a Verified Accounts feature. These accounts will incorporate a seal showing that they have been verified as belonging to the person or organisation named, a posting by Stone on the Twitter blog explains.

Still, the feature will be restricted to the Twitterati of celebrities and high profile organisation, at least for now. Trials of the service will start with "public officials, public agencies, famous artists, athletes, and other well-known individuals at risk of impersonation," Stone explained.

Twitter, which has no revenue stream, justified the restriction as necessary because of the resources needed to make the scheme work, even on a limited basis.

"Please note that this doesn't mean accounts without a verification seal are fake — the vast majority of Twitter accounts are not impersonators," Stone writes. "Another way to determine authenticity is to check the official website of the person for a link back to their Twitter account."

Stone hinted that verified accounts might be sold as a premium service to business.

"When we do start testing Account Verification, we will be sure to provide ample methods for feedback," Stone said. "Initially, verification will not be tested with businesses. However, we do see an opportunity in that arena so we'll keep you posted when we have something to share."

Recent well-publicised cases of microblogging impersonation include updates purporting to come from the jail cell of music producer turned convicted murderer Phil Spector. Other celebrities impersonated via fake Twitter accounts have included figures as diverse as Vint Cerf, veteran Labour politician Tony Benn, American rapper and record producer Kanye West and the Dalai Lama. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
BlackEnergy crimeware coursing through US control systems
US CERT says three flavours of control kit are under attack
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.