Recently, Facebook added a new setting that gives users the power to decide what they want to happen to their accounts in the event of their death. Twitter does not have this feature. In fact, twitter has verified accounts of people who died before twitter came to be and so in essence we have ‘ghosts’ walking the virtual world of twitter, sending out tweets and promoting products.
The other day, I came across a quote by Albert Einstein.
Actually, it was a tweet. Actually, it was not something Einstein ever said. Einstein is dead. He died 51 years before Twitter’s invention.
But you wouldn’t know it from scrolling through the ghostly morass of Twitter.com. Ironically, the blue-check-wielding Twitter account that displays Einstein’s name and grizzled visage makes a point of debunking the many quotes misattributed to the late physicist. But it is guilty of its own form of misattribution: verified tweets bearing Einstein’s name. There is no known record of the world’s most influential theoretical physicist employing the popular hashtag #HumpDay. And when did Einstein ever utter anything as corny as the following tweet?
If we are going to talk about Twitter’s well-established identity problem, then let’s also talk about all of the dead celebrities hawking their wares in your feed. Giving a verified Twitter account to a long-dead celebrity is like writing a mediocre novel and then half-heartedly slapping “by Virginia Woolf” on the cover because Woolf’s estate gave you permission. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and a pointless abuse of Twitter’s verification tool. Let’s ban the dead celebrities from Twitter.
I don’t mean parody accounts. Those are fine. Some are clever. Most are not, but that’s not the point—they’re parodies. They indicate that fact clearly, per company policy, or risk landing in Twitter jail. Sure, thousands of idiots still retweet and follow fake accounts like @BillMurray thinking they’re legit, but any observant user can see it’s not Murray. That’s stated outright in the bio, and even if it weren’t, the lack of a verification mark should be an obvious flag. Read more