Mario, in the 2023 Super Mario Bros. Movie, looks at Toad in a mushroom patch.

Mario Flipping the Bird Has Become the Poster Boy for Why Brands Are Fleeing Elon Musk’s Twitter

Let's-a get the hell off of Twitter!

Elon Musk’s new Twitter Blue is going great! Now, rather than verifying users to make it harder for people to impersonate public figures, Twitter is handing out that sweet, sweet blue check to anyone with eight bucks. Then they can impersonate whoever they want and make it look 100% real! It’s free speech!

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Except if you’re impersonating Elon Musk, the guy who mandated this new system in the first place. Pretending to be Elon, or criticizing Elon in any way, is not free speech—as many verified Twitter users found out the hard way, when their accounts were suspended after they changed their names to “Elon Musk.”

Anyway, brands and advertisers are understandably being scared off by the new system, because now it’s very easy for impersonators to pass themselves off as public figures. Why would any business spend ad money on a platform where they have to fight a horde of hoax accounts just to be seen? Take, for example, this fake Mario tweet:

Twitter user @nlntendoofus reportedly paid the $8 to get verified through the new Twitter Blue, called themselves Nintendo of America, and promptly put up this image of Mario flipping the bird. Classic nIntendoofus, amirite?

The account has since been deleted, but the problem remains. Thanks to the new Twitter Blue, anyone can pose as anyone. Looking at an account’s username (for example, nlntendoofus), rather than its display name, can give you a clue as to whether it’s real or not—for example, the real Nintendo of America uses @NintendoAmerica. You can also go to an account’s profile page and click on the blue check itself to see whether the account is a public figure or a was just given the blue “verification” check because they’re a Twitter Blue subscriber.

But even if you’re a conscientious Twitter user with time to spare, that’s a lot of work to put in just to tell whether an account is fake or not. Plus, many hoax accounts are using plausible-sounding usernames, like the Dave Chappelle impersonator using @RealChapelleD.

The tweet reads, “Trans women are women. No longer team terf y’all.” Wouldn’t it be nice if Dave Chappelle actually had a change of heart? Alas, it’s fake, fake, fake. Again, the account’s been deleted—but again, maybe the solution to impersonators isn’t to hand out blue checks like candy and then delete them.

(featured image: Nintendo/Illumination)


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Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>