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Elon Musk Claims Twitter Verification Is Necessary to Combat Manipulation … A Day After the Pentagon “Explosion”

Elon Musk Claims Twitter Verification Is Necessary to Combat Manipulation … A Day After the Pentagon “Explosion”

JP Alegre

Wednesday, May 24 2023, 03:09:00:PM

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit yesterday, Twitter owner Elon Musk emphasized that Twitter verification, which can be obtained through an $8/month subscription, makes creating accounts to spread misinformation more difficult. 

Except just a day before, the opposite of what he said sort of happened. On Monday, news of an explosion near the Pentagon in Washington, DC, spread quickly on social media. The news, although confirmed to be a hoax within an hour, was powerful enough that it rattled the stock market, causing the S&P to drop by 30 points.

What fuelled the confusion was that it was shared by many blue-checked accounts that shared the AI-generated image — including an already deleted one that was made to look like it was associated with Bloomberg News. The blue checks actually added what Musk calls “credibility” to the accounts and therefore made the piece of information they were sharing seem believable.

The problem with breaking news, especially the sort that says an explosion just occurred near the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, is that even media outlets tend to pick them up before they check for “provenance and veracity,” as RT, the Russian state-controlled media outlet, put it.

After RT had tweeted the image, it was then picked up by the Indian outlet Republic. Both media outlets have since deleted their reports and admitted to the error.

Musk, meanwhile, has not directly addressed the incident. But he did quote the replicant Roy Batty from Blade Runner.

Information for this story was found via the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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