Monday, October 3, 2016

Four Rudy Giuliani's on Twitter

I saw this earlier today on Meet the Press, and meant to write about it.

Rudy Giuliani is being interviewed by Chuck Todd, who cites a tweet from Giuliani.

Giuliani says that tweet wasn't by me - that there are four accounts impersonating him on Twitter. Todd says ok, drops the question, and moves on to something else.

What's going on?

Well, if you look for Giuliani on Twitter, you'll indeed find four accounts - actually, more than four - none of which have the coveted blue check mark, which indicates that the account was verified in some arcane way by Twitter.  Donald Trump's account has the check - and that's how we know that @realDonaldTrump  is really Donald Trump and @realDoneldTrump  is not.

I'm too lazy to paste the four bogus Giuliani accounts here - you can easily find them yourself - but, since indeed none have verifying check marks, I'll buy that none are really Giuliani.  But this begs the question of: why doesn't Giuliani get his own, real verified account?

Chuck Todd, as he often does, failed to follow up when Giuliani denounced the tweet as not his.   So we're left guessing why Giuliani doesn't have a check mark.   Is he on Twitter by some other name? Did Twitter not deign to give Giuliani a check mark?  (Hey, it happens - I don't have check mark on my @PaulLev account either.)

But whatever the reason, the result led to a signal moment in television news today, when the flagship Sunday news show of them all - Meet the Press debuted on NBC in 1947 - had to withdraw a question to a guest because it was about a tweet that in fact the guest didn't make, even though there are four accounts on Twitter tweeting under the guest's name.

More evidence for what I've said in McLuhan in an Age of Social Media about Twitter having toppled television as the cutting edge medium for delivery of news, and everyone other than the people on television knowing this.

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