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Musk’s toughest troll fight on Twitter is with a Tesla parody account

November 11, 2022, 10:44 AM UTC
One of the most popular posts read: “We will be offering 10 thousand vehicles to support the Ukrainian military. Our cars are the most advanced explosive devices on the market,” while another said: “Everyone’s talking about Twitter going up in flames but our cars did that before it was cool."
Helen H. Richardson—MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The issue of Twitter Inc. users impersonating big brands encroached on CEO Elon Musk’s personal space on Friday, when a purported Tesla Inc. account, complete with Blue verification check mark, started posting about the car company he runs.

The account, named Tesla and bearing the handle @TesIaReal, racked up tens of thousands of likes in an eight-hour spree that touched on the carmaker’s safety, stock price and solar panels.

One of the most popular posts read: “We will be offering 10 thousand vehicles to support the Ukrainian military. Our cars are the most advanced explosive devices on the market,” while another said: “Everyone’s talking about Twitter going up in flames but our cars did that before it was cool.”

While obviously a parody account — and marked as such after Musk warned the platform would ban those not “clearly identified” as being so — it nevertheless highlights Musk’s problem with brand impostors setting up fake-but-verified accounts. On Friday he tweeted: “Going forward, accounts engaged in parody must include “parody” in their name, not just in bio.”

Since offering paying subscribers blue check marks, Twitter has faced a host of impersonation problems. One account claiming to be Nintendo Inc. posted an image of Super Mario holding up a middle finger, while another posing as pharma giant Eli Lilly & Co. tweeted that insulin was now free — forcing the company to issue an apology.

The writing may be on the wall for rogue posters. In an email to Twitter staff Wednesday, Musk  wrote: “Over the next few days, the absolute top priority is finding and suspending any verified bots/trolls/spam.”  

The Tesla impostor, at least, senses the end is near (the account has since been suspended). One post stated: “We ride this til it combusts like a Tesla battery.”

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