Avoiding Fake Twitter Accounts

Rupert Murdoch, the 80-year-old media mogul, made headlines this week when he joined Twitter. But it wasn’t his joining social media that had people’s attention, it was the fact that he’d made the common faux pas of falling for fake Twitter accounts.


On Monday Murdoch was following four people, one of which initially seemed to be Google CEO, Larry Page. It was soon revealed that the Larry Page account was nothing but a parody account set up by a university class. To make matters worse, a Twitter-verified account held by Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng, was also revealed to be false, fooling many including Murdoch, News International and the BBC.

There are thousands, if not millions, of fake Twitter accounts out there, and Murdoch is not the first or the last to be fooled by them. Some are created by spammers while others are developed by celebrity fans or people trying to pose as a well-known person or company. While it is not always easy to spot a fake Twitter account (some are amazingly convincing), here are a few ways to make sure you are following a legit profile:

1. Visit the website for the company or person you are interested in following. If they have a Twitter account, you should find a link to it on their site.
2. Look for a blue checkmark on the Twitter profile. Twitter makes every effort to verify accounts of famous people or companies, and will indicate authenticity with a blue checkmark. While this isn’t 100% (as was the case with Wendi Deng), it’s a good start.
3. Fake accounts aren’t just for celebrities or companies, sometimes they are meant to represent ordinary people. So, if the profile follows thousands of people, Tweets the same message multiple times a day, or has a questionable profile photo, it may be a fake account.

With a bit of vigilance and research you should be able to find the genuine Twitter account of the person or company you are looking for. Speaking of Twitter, just in case you haven’t already followed our accounts, you can find us on @citedms and @cite_social.

If you’ve got any more tips, please leave them in the comments section below and feel free to contact us about any web design, social media, and online marketing questions.