Twitter and the curious case of @DrJialun

Platform Industry News: Twitter

The Twitter account @DrJialun was created just weeks ago in March 2021. They had under 100 followers, used a well known stock photo, yet was somehow already verified by Twitter admin as a person of note, worthy of verification.

It is worth noting that Twitter claimed to have mothballed its controversial verification program more than a year ago. However, this account was deemed worthy enough to immediately become verified.

In terms of the content posted, its initial posts expressed sentiments that were pro-Chinese government policy. Users that the suspicious account followed included CNN, NBC, President Biden and members of the Biden-Harris administration. Numerous left-leaning journalists and alleged Chinese propagandists based overseas followed the account.

After multiple US commentators started digging into the details, the accounts profile changed and the stock photo used disappeared. Twitter later suspended the account.

As of writing this blog post, the mysterious account was still active on LinkedIn, where it claimed higher education credentials at leading universities in the UK and US.

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Below are four quick questions senior management at Twitter need to answer:

  1. Is Twitter now verifying accounts?
  2. What was the reason for verifying this account?
  3. What details were supplied by the user in order to pass the verification process?
  4. What did the user do to get their account suspended?
  5. How many new accounts with under 100 followers have been verified in the past 12 months?

It is easy to create your own theories regarding both this mysterious user account and the motive for Twitter to immediately verify. It is for this reason that we urge the social media platform to answer our questions.

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