On April 14, 2022, Elon Musk made a $44 billion offer to buy Twitter. As of October 27, Musk acquired Twitter. In the following 2-3 weeks, there was a complete chaos and turmoil. The highlight in the first place was the verification and the ‘blue check mark’, which can be purchased for 8 dollars. On the other hand, the dismissal of almost 50% of Twitter’s workforce following the acquisition caused panic. With most of Twitter’s contract staff gone and at least 1,200 employees leaving, Twitter users were alarmed, thinking the website would crash and be shut down. Even ‘#RIPTwitter’ Hashtags such as This social media chaos, which we have briefly summarized, has led to many legal questions and problems.
To put it briefly, all these events brought about the questioning of Twitter in terms of ethical and legal problems and responsibilities both against its employees and users. It is curiously anticipated what this alarming situation, which we call social media chaos, will lead to in the near future. However, for now, the copyright infringement – content removal system has slowed down considerably, especially due to the large number of employees being laid off/leaving. We can see this situation in the content change. For example, now, in a way that is not very common in the period before the purchase; Movies that remain accessible for hours, divided into parts, have begun to be broadcast as tweets. Twitter’s alarming loss of control over copyright infringement is also evident in the equity markets and crypto-assets ecosystem. Because exchanges bitterly tested the manipulation risk of “blue click” accounts bought with money last week. Likewise, the FTX – Binance process has completely turned into a Twitter-based rabbit-to-the-hound game.
In this article, we will evaluate the prominent events, both from a legal point of view and the responsibilities of Twitter in terms of crypto assets.
Problems of Paid Verification
Twitter derives most of its revenue from advertising services. Musk, on the other hand, offered to sell users a blue verification/verification click for $8, which is a kind of subscription service to the website. Verified users can be viewed on websites with personal or official profiles. Verified profiles are usually official accounts of famous business people, artists, political figures, brands.
This verification system is actually a very practical, if not perfect, system for detecting fake accounts and preventing disinformation. As a matter of fact, the problems that arose with the new application started at this point. Users who paid $ 8 for a blue verification image were able to edit their profiles under the name and photo they wanted. Thereupon, accounts have emerged that have been verified with the names of famous political figures and artists, that is, as if they were really the person shown.
One of the victims of these subscribed, verified accounts was the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company. A tweet was made by creating a fake but verified account. ‘We’re excited to announce that insulin is now free’. Even though this account was closed later, it happened. The tweet received more than 1,500 retweets and more than 10,000 likes before it was removed. Shares of the pharmaceutical company fell from $368 billion to $346 billion. According to the economic reports of the period, the market value of billions of dollars was erased in an instant. The company is still struggling to get back to its initial price reporting after being bullish for the past few months. Eli Lilly felt the need to make an apologetic statement from his real account, as there were discussions about the high insulin prices in the USA that followed.
American baseball coach Tony La Russa sued the website in 2009 for creating a fake Twitter page in his name. La Russa claimed that the fake account caused significant emotional distress and reputational damage. Thereupon, the blue tick approval application appeared. The blue tick normally confirms and confirms that an account is genuine. Of course, this verification situation also creates problems in terms of trademark law. An ineffective verification and categorization practice can lead to discrediting and distrustful results among brands. In particular, fake accounts, brand-based scams and phishing for businesses are factors that increase the likelihood of scams, experts say. In this case, the most prone to be affected are the young and the elderly.
As seen in the Eli Lilly case, tweets from fake accounts can have a huge impact on the market. It would not be wrong to say that this could have the same effect on crypto asset companies. With one false tweet, it may be possible to lose millions, even billions, in an instant, irreversibly. As a matter of fact, the losses in the FTX – Binance hound rabbit game are at least as damaging as FTX’s subjecting customer funds to unauthorized collateral transactions.
Verification, Bots and Their Reflection on Crypto Assets
In his statements, Musk repeatedly emphasized that Twitter has a serious ‘bot’ problem. Despite these statements, he did not find it strange to publish a survey on his own profile to Twitter users about whether access to Doland Trump’s Twitter account should be unblocked. According to the data, a high number of votes were cast in the survey. Finally, Trump’s account was reopened. The high turnout in the survey was the subject of pride. Virtual surveys can be useful for getting opinions, but they are not very reliable. So why does this matter on a social media platform like Twitter? According to research conducted by some organizations, the number of bots on Twitter is quite high, and according to some researches, the bot rate goes up to 20%. So bots are especially useful in spreading a point of view, false news and information. In this sense, knowing how obvious a problem this is, Twitter polls should not be trusted. On the other hand, there is a dangerous situation created by this in terms of crypto assets. Polls are frequently used by those interested in the crypto market on Twitter and are seen as a way to get public opinion. This, in turn, affects the survey results in determining investment trends. It would not be wrong to say that Twitter dominates the market in terms of advertisements and survey referrals of crypto assets. This has many legal consequences.
The current policies have not yet solved the bot problem that existed before Musk entered the framework. As a matter of fact, according to the current sales policy, thousands of blue-tick accounts may appear at once. Activities such as constantly receiving messages by bots, spamming conversations, spreading misinformation are taking place before crypto-interested communities can meet on Twitter. This leads to both the spread of false information and the spamming, making it difficult to access the correct information. Although not noticed at first glance, this can become quite dangerous, especially for inexperienced or inexperienced crypto-asset users.
Additionally, Twitter promises to include a button that will allow users to view NFT marketplace listings from certain platforms and allow them to buy and sell collectibles. The integration, which is still in testing, is currently working with four specific partners’ marketplaces:
Solana-based marketplace Magic Eden,
multiplatform NFT marketplace protocol Rarible,
Flow blockchain creator Dapper Labs and
Sports-centric platform Jump.trade.
Collectively, these marketplaces span various blockchain networks, including Ethereum, Solana, Flow, Polygon, Tezos, and Immutable X.
According to the statement, this feature is blockchain-independent, meaning all networks are supported as long as connections are from a common marketplace. This feature, which looks positive, can function if there is a special unit to deal with these issues. However, in the current situation, the majority of those who think that Twitter does not have a solid staff. Therefore, it may be too early to initiate these initiatives at this stage.
What is the Latest Situation?
The blue tick verification application was discontinued after recent events. According to Musk’s statement on November 22, the blue tick will not be reapplied for now until it is resolved how to take measures against imitation.
However, a remarkable situation was that the policies implemented by the website for the last two weeks had a very bad effect on advertising companies. It’s notable for crypto companies, for example in terms of token promotions. Violent, racist and sexist tweets have become more common on Twitter as Musk has implemented a strict freedom of expression policy. There is no experienced team monitoring them anymore. Unable to quickly remove illegal content. Users’ timelines are vulnerable to the invasion of false, misleading, manipulative tweets. Most of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising. However, the situation we have outlined can lead to a dramatic decrease in advertising revenues. This means disaster for Twitter. Of course, the collapse of such a social media platform or the loss of user – penetration is also the worst scenario for companies, businesses, new technologies and investors. Let’s hope Twitter doesn’t measure up like it did with the blue click experience. Otherwise, sensational losses of 10-15 billion dollars can be repeated in 2 days, as in the chaos of FTX – Binance.
 How Many Bots Are on Twitter and Does It Matter?, MAXWELL TIMOTHY, 03/08/2022. https://www.makeuseof.com/how-many-bots-on-twitter/
 Twitter Will Allow Users to Buy and Sell NFTs Through Tweets, Andrew Hayward, 17/10/2022, https://decrypt.co/113007/twitter-buy-sell-nfts-tweets-magic-eden-dapper-rarible
Hunting. Mete Tevetoğlu and Stj. Hunting. From the pen of Sabrin Albayrak…
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