One of the features that has made Twitter so successful as a broadcast channel for brands and celebrities is the verification tick. A little blue tick placed next to the user’s name it bestows legitimacy and trust upon the account in question. The lead singer of indie-pop band Los Campesinos Gareth David (@grthdvd on Twitter) was at some point granted one and proceeded to use it to comprehensively troll the cut and paste world of football journalism.
His method was simple, even when you have that blue tick you are still able to edit your username and your profile picture. So, on transfer deadline – the day on which football clubs must complete all transfers – he changed his picture and profile to that of Daily Mail football writer, and non-Twitter user, Martin Samuels. He then proceeded to tweet false yet not entirely outlandish transfer “news”.
Footballs fans and some “respected” sites and pundits jumped on and his “news” was soon trending all over Europe.
On one level, it was a fairly benign and amusing bit of trolling on another it was perfect example of the way in which in the internet age “news” can be accepted and disseminated without anyone bothering to check for truth, accuracy or any of that boring newsy stuff. Twitter took away Gareth’s tick after the incident. It was clearly a grave insult to the sanctity of that little blue tick. To paraphrase one of his band’s songs whilst he was throwing a party of sorts the corporate titans of Twitter were throwing knives:
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