Fake Wendi Deng Twitter account raises real questions for journalists

The Guardian | The Washington Post | Talking Points Memo

The real Rupert Murdoch joined Twitter last week, but his wife did not. So, why and how did Twitter verify the @Wendi_Deng account as authentic? Twitter won't comment on the verification process "but can confirm that the @wendi_deng account was mistakenly verified for a short period of time." The Guardian's Josh Halliday emailed the fake @Wendi_Deng, who said:

When Twitter verified it, I was completely and utterly shocked. A little nervous too, if I'm honest, about what had happened and whether it had all gone too far. I just couldn't believe they would have verified such a high profile account without checking it out, but I absolutely received no communication from Twitter to the email address I used to register.

The Post's Erik Wemple analyzes the tweets and says a few were implausible, according to his "Retrospective Authenticity Rating" scale. But overall, "a savvy trickster, Wendi_Deng churned out anodyne stuff that wouldn’t make any news or offend any followers — cheeky, insidery comments about how 'she' and the real Rupert Murdoch were greeting Twitter." The question for Twitter, as posed by Carl Franzen at Talking Points Memo, is: "Why should anyone trust that a 'Verified Account' has truly been verified?"


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