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Nightmare for Kenyan media after Twitter removed their verification badges

Media houses in Kenya are grappling with the aftermath of Twitter's removal of legacy verified badges, as fake accounts posing as reputable news organizations spread

Elon Musk controls SpaceX and is the CEO of Twitter.Britta Pedersen/Getty Images

As Twitter removed the blue verification badges for legacy accounts, media houses in Kenya found themselves grappling with a surge in impersonation on the popular social media platform.

The move by Twitter, which reserved the verification badge exclusively for govenment accounts and users who had subscribed to Twitter Blue, had unintended consequences for media organizations in Kenya, resulting in the spread of misleading information and compromising their credibility.

One of the media houses hardest hit by the removal of the legacy verified badge was Citizen TV, a prominent news outlet in Kenya.

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Others included Standard, KTN, K24 TV, and even the state broadcaster KBC was not spared.

Fake accounts posing as various news outlets in Kenya quickly emerged on Twitter, mimicking legitimate media houses' official accounts and disseminating misleading updates and false information to unsuspecting users.

This raised serious concerns among both the media organization and the public, as it became increasingly difficult to discern between the authentic accounts and the impersonators.

As the impersonation crisis escalated, the media houses had to take swift action to combat the spread of misinformation.

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The outlets actively flagged the misleading news urging their followers to exercise caution and verify information from official sources.

However, the impersonators persisted in their efforts, continuously creating new accounts and spreading misinformation, making it an arduous task for them to mitigate the issue.

This not only created confusion among the public but also posed a significant risk to the credibility of these media houses, which rely on their reputation for disseminating accurate news and information.

In the days to come, many media houses are likely to explore the option of applying for the Twitter Blue subscription or assistance from Twitter to report and remove fake accounts.

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To combat this issue, it is imperative for Kenyan users to be alert and discerning when consuming and sharing information on social media.

It is crucial to verify the authenticity of Twitter accounts by confirming the handle and username of reputable media organizations, and cross-referencing information with reliable sources.

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