- Twitter issued verifications to a number of large-scale gamers and streamers on Wednesday, including Corpse Husband, whose content has recently seen a massive surge in popularity because of his Among Us plays.
- Still, it left out many other figures, such as Dream and CallMeCarson, who have millions of followers each.
- In a notable blunder, Twitter also accidentally verified the wrong Karl Jacobs. The correct Karl Jacobs, a Twitch streamer with nearly 800,000 followers, was later given verification. Until Thursday afternoon, the incorrect Jacobs retained verification.
- The confusion over this wave of verifications follows Twitter’s recent pledge to relaunch applications for verifications after pausing the program in 2017 when it verified a white supremacist.
Twitter Verifies the Wrong Account
On Wednesday, Twitter verified Twitch streamer Karl Jacobs, who has nearly 800,000 followers on the platform and has frequently appeared in videos with mega-creator Mr.Beast. Or rather, Twitter tried to verify him.
It actually ended up verifying a different Karl Jacobs, the owner of a seemingly random account that only had about 200 followers at the time.
“THEY VERIFIED THE WRONG KARL JACOBS,” streamer Karl Jacobs said in a tweet that was soon followed up by a response from Mr.Beast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson.
“LMAO THATS THE FUNNIEST THING IVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE,” Donaldson said.
About 30 minutes later, Jacobs confirmed that Twitter had partially corrected its mistake and verified his account by giving it a blue checkmark. Twitter did not fully rectify their mistake until Thursday afternoon when it finally removed the verification for the account for the random Karl Jacobs.
Jacob’s verification was part of a mass verification of gamers and other streamers on Wednesday. While the platform gave blue checkmarks to a number of top creators (such as fast-growing creator Corpse Husband), it also seemingly skipped over several other major creators with millions of followers each.
Some fans were upset that streamers such as Sykkuno, who has 1.8 million followers on Twitch and almost 750,000 of Twitter, appeared to be ignored in the wave of verifications. They argued that he should already meet Twitter’s standards for being verified, as he’s an account of “public interest.”
Both Corpse Husband and Twitch Streamer Valkyrae also expressed disappointment that Sykkuno wasn’t included.
Other notable creators left out of the fold included CallMeCarson and Dream. On Twitter, both joked about the situation.
CallMeCarson, whose real name is Carson King, currently has over 3 million followers on YouTube. Dream, whose real identity is anonymous, has over 13 million followers. His Minecraft plays on YouTube average tens of millions of views with each upload.
Twitter’s Verification Problem
In 2017, Twitter paused its application-based verification system after it faced backlash for verifying a white supremacist and reported neo-Nazi who had organized the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. During that rally, counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed after a vehicle rammed into her.
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” the Twitter Support account said following backlash. “We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon.”
In a quote tweet, CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that “the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered.”
In 2018, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour said the company was shifting focus from updating that verification process to election integrity.
During that announcement, he also addressed confusion that had arisen because, despite the pause of Twitter’s public verification system, some accounts were still actively receiving blue checkmarks.
“Despite that goal,” he said, “we still verify accounts ad hoc when we think it serves the public conversation & is in line with our policy. But this has led to frustration b/c our process remains opaque & inconsistent with our [intended] pause. This is far from ideal & we still intend to fix.”
That likely explains Wednesday’s set of verifications, as well as verifications earlier this year for a number of public health officials who have authority to speak on the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Will Public Verification Come Back?
Despite that application process being missing for three years now, public verification is still expected to come back. In fact, last week, Twitter announced that it expects to re-introduce the feature early next year.
In a draft policy, it said eligible accounts include government entities, companies, brands, nonprofits, news media accounts, activists, and organizers. The list also includes businesses and individuals in entertainment and sports, as well as a more general category listed as “other influential individuals.”
Beykpour added that the company’s “goal is to bring clarity to what verification on Twitter means, the criteria we’ll use for assessing verification, and how to apply.”
Indeed, the draft policy lays out some very specific rules for how to get that oh-so-coveted blue checkmark. For example, one avenue for an actor to receive verification includes obtaining at least five production credits on their IMDB profile.
Qualifying media outlets must also adhere to standards set forth by multiple organizations focusing on ethics in journalism.
Twitter said it will refuse to hand out verifications to any accounts that “have had a 12-hour or 7-day lockout for violating the Twitter Rules in the past six months.”
“You may lose your badge if you change your account name (@handle), if your account becomes inactive or incomplete, or if you are no longer in the position you initially were verified for—such as an elected government official who leaves office—and you do not otherwise meet our criteria for verification,” the draft says.
That clause could potentially leave the door open for Twitter to remove President Donald Trump’s verification once he leaves the White House in January. Since May, Twitter has placed warning labels on a bevy of Trump’s tweets. That fact-checking process ramped up in November as Trump made false claims about election fraud in dozens of tweets.
If Trump continues to tweet false information after his presidency, Twitter may be forced to address that question. In either event that Twitter removes his verification or gives him a special exemption, the company will undoubtedly face criticism.
Twitter said it will publish a finalized version of this policy on Dec. 17, but at least one major question remains: If Twitter has worked for three years to make its verification process transparent, will users have confidence in the platform if it continues to accidentally give verifications — a symbol of authority — to random accounts?
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.