Fake LeBron, Schefter tweets expose flaw in new paid verification system

By , Audacy Sports

Countless sports fans and journalists on Twitter were duped by a pair of verified accounts impersonating LeBron James and Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

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In the bogus tweets, the account pretending to be James, tweeting under the handle @KINGJamez, said the four-time NBA MVP was requesting a trade off the Lakers. The fake Schefter account, whose handle was @AdamSchefterN0T, "reported" that the Raiders were firing head coach Josh McDaniels.

Both phony accounts were suspended, but not before the misleading tweets had garnered hundreds of retweets and likes.

The accounts in question appeared to have gotten their blue checkmarks through Twitter's new paid verification system, an initiative rolled out by new owner and CEO Elon Musk.

Prior to Musk's arrival, verification was mostly reserved for public figures, officials, and journalists.

Now, however, the blue check can be had by seemingly anyone for the price of an $8 monthly subscription. Apparently, some users are willing to pony up the fee for the chance at a high-engagement prank.

The development did not go over especially well with real blue checks, who saw the exploitation of the loophole as an inevitable result of the controversial paid verification policy.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today