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Twitter verification process under the spotlight

Micro-blogging site Twitter has come under scrutiny after a spoof account said to belong to the wife of News International overlord Rupert Murdoch was mistakenly marked as a verified account.

Verified accounts feature a blue tick which is meant to prove that they are the celebrity or public figure that they say they are, however the fake account for @Wendi_Deng was authenticated by the site with no checks.

However, the blame cannot be fully placed on Twitter as they weren’t the only ones to say the account belonged to Mrs Murdoch – members of the News International press team told a number of journalists that the account was real.

Over 16,000 accounts are verified by Twitter (a complete list is available here) but the process has been thrown into doubt after the owner of the Wendi Deng account said that no one got in contact with them to confirm their identity, and neither did anyone from NI before the press team made their blunder.

A spokesperson for Twitter said: “We don’t comment on our verification process but can confirm that the @wendi_deng account was mistakenly verified for a short period of time. We apologise for the confusion this caused.”

Although the Wendi Deng saga has left some NI and Twitter staff with red faces, there has been no real damage done. However, this is not always the case. For businesses that use social media, the amount of fake accounts can be worrying especially as apart from contacting the sites to get them removed there is often little they can do about it.

A scam was doing the rounds online last year offering free Asda giftcards and in the last week Argos have fallen prey to a scam event saying that people who mark themselves as attending will receive a gift cards.

Internet users that fall for these scams will find that they end up clicking on links which provide commission payments to the people behind it and see their details sold on, and many businesses may worry about the implications this could have for their reputation.

If you’re concerned about reputation management or dealing with your social media management, then contact Custard Media. As an experienced digital marketing and social media agency our friendly team can help your business with all aspects of your online marketing strategy, so get in touch with us today!


  • i am a international track athlete. i was wonder if i could get a verification tick also because i notice there was some fake accounts made up of me

    • mattfielding

      Hi Ojay, sorry to hear you’re having problems on Twitter. If you’d like to email matt.fielding@custardmedia.co.uk with your contact number and details of the issue, I’ll look into it for you.

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