Some Twitter users are already abusing the platform’s new for-purchase verification badges by impersonating athletes, brands and other high-profile people.
The spoof accounts popped up Wednesday afternoon after Twitter officially began rolling out the $7.99-a-month version of its Twitter Blue subscription service, which allows users to pay for blue check marks indicating they have been verified. Many blue checks already belong to celebrities, businesses and journalists.
The athletes who appear to have been parodied as of Wednesday afternoon include NBA star LeBron James, Major League Baseball pitcher Aroldis Chapman and NHL center Connor McDavid. All three fake accounts have been suspended.
Another account that has been suspended claimed to be for the gaming company Nintendo of America. A verified account with the handle “@nlntendoofus” tweeted an image of the character Mario making an obscene gesture.
A user impersonating former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, using the handle “@RudyGiulianiESQ,” had not been suspended. The account’s bio says it is “parity,” and it lists another account that goes by “The Bookie’s Basement.” NBC News has reached out to the user who appears to be behind the fake account.