Twitter in bid to combat celebrity impostors

Harvard, MA – Twitter is to launch a verification service to try and avoid any more cases of celebrity impersonation.

It was confirmed last week that Tony La Russa, the manager of the St Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team, was suing Twitter for unspecified damages, after an impersonator set up an account in his name and ‘tweeted’ about dead players. The case has been settled, with Twitter agreeing to pay La Russa’s legal costs – although it has described the case as “an unnecessary waste of judicial resources bordering on frivolous”.

Other famous names who have been the target of impersonators include Cheryl Cole of Girls Aloud, music producer (and murderer) Phil Spector and hip-hop artist Kanye West.

The verification service – Verified Accounts – will launch in beta this summer and will initially be available to public officials, public agencies, artists, athletes and other famous people. The company may extend it to businesses at some point. Accounts authorised as genuine will appear with a special seal displayed on the top right of the screen.

“This doesn’t mean accounts without a verification seal are fake – the vast majority of Twitter accounts are not impersonators,” says Twitter co-founder Biz Stone in a blog post.

Last week, researchers from Harvard Business claimed that Twitter was little more than a marketing tool for celebrities.