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Twitter employees demanded bribes for account verification, users allege

'Elon bought a crime scene'

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Yudi Sherman

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Yudi Sherman

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Shining a spotlight on media and government disinformation.

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November 07, 2022

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06:55 AM

Twitter employees demanded bribes for account verification, users allege

 

Twitter employees demanded hefty sums for users who wanted to get their accounts verified with a blue checkmark, users are claiming on social media. 

The blue checkmark is a stamp of authenticity which a user can only get if, as per Twitter’s guidelines, the account is “authentic, notable and active.” It has come to be known as a status symbol for influencers in various categories and did not require payment. Users needed only apply for verification via a standard application. 

But some recall being denied verification unless they paid a Twitter employee a large sum of money under the table. 

“Twitter employees were selling verification for upwards of $15,000,” wrote Chairman, a conservative influencer with nearly a million followers. “For certain accounts, mine included, they would refuse to verify you through the standard application and then privately offer to verify you for $$ behind the scenes. Investigation needed.” 

“Yup,” Musk agreed.

Another user, conservative podcaster Brenden Dilley, confirmed Chairman’s allegation. 

“I can confirm this. I was offered verification in June of 2015 as I was an author and speaker. The price I was told, was $13k. Obviously, I couldn't afford it and continued on. Elon bought a crime scene and now people are finding out just how bad it was.” 

Conservative-leaning author and journalist Ashley Rindsberg chimed in with a similar claim. 

“I experienced the same thing. Around $14,000 - payable in [Ethereum]. I’m a journalist who regularly appears on national news. I’ve published at Daily Beast, NYPost, HuffPost, Spectator, Fox, others. I’ve broken national security and Covid corruption stories. But I tripped the wrong wire at tradTwitter. No verification. Pay $14k.” 

The allegations come as Elon Musk announced a new policy which will offer anyone account verification for $8 per month, eliminating the divide between “lords and peasants”. 

“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit,” tweeted Musk last week. “Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.” 

Musk’s new verification policy evoked backlash from current verified accounts, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who pushed back at Musk on the platform. 

“Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that ‘free speech’ is actually a $8/mo subscription plan,” tweeted AOC last week. 

“Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8,” Musk responded. 

 

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