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Musk says some impersonation Twitter accounts face permanent ban

New Twitter owner Elon Musk said on Sunday that anyone on the platform that operates an account impersonating someone else, without stating “parody” in the profile, will be permanently suspended from the service.

In a follow-up tweet, Musk said that, while the company used to give a warning to an imitator to give them a chance to rectify the situation, there would no longer be a warning, with suspension taking place as soon as the violation was discovered.

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“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk wrote, adding, “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”

Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.

This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2022

Even before Musk’s tweets, Twitter had started to turn off a number of accounts where users had changed their profile name to “Elon Musk” in protest at the billionaire entrepreneur’s plan to overhaul the verification system by tying it to the premium Twitter Blue tier, thereby allowing anyone to get a blue check mark simply by paying the new Blue rate of $8 per month.

Actor and comedian Kathy Griffin, for example, recently changed her Twitter account name to “Elon Musk” and subsequently had her account suspended. It’s not yet clear if the suspension will turn out to be permanent, as it appears her account was suspended before Musk posted his tweets.

Roswell actor Brendan Fehr and One Day at a Time’s Valerie Bertinelli also changed their Twitter name to Elon Musk, but once they heard that the company was taking action, they removed his name.

“We are no longer all Elon Musk … cause he locked those accounts,” Fehr tweeted on Sunday, adding, “But don’t worry, he’s still perfectly fine with anyone tweeting lies and irresponsible conspiracies so all’s good and makes sense.”

Bertinelli tweeted. “Okey-dokey I’ve had my fun and I think I made my point. I’m just not a ‘trending’ kind of gal. Never have been, never want to be.”

Those impersonating Elon Musk are, of course, also subject to the new rules. Melbourne-based Hindi professor Ian Woolford, for example, recently switched his profile picture to the same one currently used by Elon Musk and started tweeting in Hindi about the recent shenanigans taking place at Twitter. His account has now been suspended, presumably for failing to state that it was a parody account.

Writer Hannah Gais, who currently has “not a parody” as part of her account name, pointed out how the complexities of trying to run Twitter appear to be impacting Musk. Gais shared a “how it started, how it’s going” post, featuring a tweet posted by Musk 10 days ago, on the day the Twitter deal went through, saying, “Comedy is now legal on Twitter,” followed by his post on Sunday about imitation accounts.

how it started, how it’s going

— hannah gais (not a parody) (@hannahgais) November 6, 2022

Multiple reports on Sunday said that Twitter has confirmed it’s pausing the rollout of account verifications linked to Twitter Blue until after the midterm elections.

Whether the extra time gives Twitter’s new top team pause for thought in how it’s approaching the verification system remains to be seen, though at the current time, it appears keen to press ahead with the changes.

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