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Elon Musk warns Twitter accounts impersonating others will be banned without warning

Elon Musk warns Twitter accounts impersonating others will be banned without warning

Twitter accounts impersonating others without any disclaimer that says they are parodies will be permanently banned from the platform, the company’s new boss Elon Musk has warned.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” the multibillionaire tweeted on Monday.

The Tesla chief’s tweet comes as several users impersonated him on the microblogging platform this weekend, including actor Valerie Bertinelli who changed her profile name to “Elon Musk” shortly after the company rolled out its new controversial paid-verification system.

“The blue checkmark simply meant your identity was verified. Scammers would have a harder time impersonating you. That no longer applies. Good luck out there!” Ms Bartinelli wrote.

Critics have raised concerns that by using this loophole, some users may buy verification, change their profile names to impersonate politicians or news outlets and spread political misinformation.

Amid these concerns, the widespread roll-out of the new verification feature will reportedly be delayed until after the US midterm elections on Tuesday.

Ms Bertinelli, following her account name change to impersonate the new Twitter boss, posted several tweets in support of Democratic candidates ahead of the US midterm elections, including posts with hashtags like #VoteBlueToProtectYourRights.

She then changed her profile name back, writing “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. Have a safe Sunday everyone! xo.”

The Twitter accounts belonging to comedians Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin were suspended after they were changed to impersonate the social media giant’s new boss.

While Ms Silverman’s account has since been reinstated, Ms Griffin’s profile still appears to be suspended.

Mr Musk tweeted on Monday that, with the rolling out of the new verification system, there will be no warning before banning impersonators going forward.

“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,” he said.

The multibillionaire added that any profile name change would result in the temporary loss of a verified checkmark.

Mr Musk earlier stated that there would not be any major decisions taken about content policies on the platform until a content moderation council was formed at the company.

The rule change does not seem to be reflected in the platform’s Terms of Service yet.

Twitter has not yet responded to a request for comment by The Independent.