Blue checks combine a few different concepts: | by Balaji



21 days ago

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Blue checks combine a few different concepts: - is this account a human? - is it unique? - is it who it says it is? - and is it important? @elonmusk can still change course, but right now his solution to the bot problem is causing a more damaging impersonation problem.

Damaging to Twitter, that is — but perhaps not society. If people learn to not trust tweets from verified users without doing diligence (and arguably they shouldn't), you get a Tower of Babel moment where everyone redecentralizes. All would now agree: the public square is fake.

Facebook was money, Twitter is status. Twitter isn't the biggest network. Or the most valuable. But it's where the world's elites congregate to slug it out each day. The global echo chamber. Unless it becomes a hall of mirrors, and everyone checks out.

The blue check bundles different things. It doesn't just signal "not a bot". It signals that something is the real account. Right now, it's possible to vandalize any brand for $8. Certainly these tweets cost BP (and Twitter) more than $8 in brand equity.

This could change by simply having a "not a bot" check. But as currently implemented, paid impersonation just accelerates the collapse of trust. Maybe that's good, many institutions don't deserve trust! Yet we do need to rebuild high-trust societies.

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