Thanks to Elon Musk, it’s a lot more difficult to determine who really is who on Twitter. It was bad enough before, but now that anyone can pay $8/month for the status symbol of a blue checkmark, it’s even easier for parody accounts to look like the real thing.
The BBC became the latest culprit of falling for a parody account. According to Deadline, the BBC took down an article claiming actor Will Ferrell apologized for mocking Sunderland fans on Twitter.
In a statement, the BBC said, “In a BBC News Online article, we incorrectly stated QPR fan and actor Will Ferrell apologised for mocking Sunderland fans. A quote was taken from a verified Twitter account, but it was not made by the actor. We have removed the article in its entirety since it was based wholly on the apology.”
Ferrell attended a Queens Park Rangers-Sunderland match last Tuesday. He appeared in a video, that was posted on QPR’s Twitter account, where Ferrell told Sunderland fans they will be “drowning in sorrow” from the tears they’ll accumulate from the match. That clip was true, the apology was not.
The account the BBC based their article on was from a parody account that is subscribed to Twitter Blue. While the account clearly has the word “parody” in the bio, and the BBC should do more than the bare minimum of due diligence, having the blue checkmark doesn’t help the situation.
The LAFC co-owner had been on a soccer tour of the UK over the past week or so. Ferrell also attended the Manchester City–Aston Villa, Liverpool–Everton, and Wrexham-Wealdstone matches.