How can I tell whether a Twitter account is fake or not?
A year ago in this column (“Tweeting Twitter”, August 8, 2011), in response to a question by an RCSC employee, I wrote a short primer about Twitter in Bhutan. Back then only a handful of Bhutanese were using twitter. Well, things have definitely changed! Twitter in Bhutan has since grown considerably. I estimate that around 3,000 to 4,000 accounts on Twitter belong to Bhutanese, which is about 0.5% of the Bhutanese population. This is still small compared to the number of Facebook users in Bhutan (approximately 70,000), but Twitter does seem to have a growing impact in the country.
|The British Monarchy|
There are two foolproof ways to find out if an account is genuine or not. Some accounts - mostly ones that belong to celebrities, high-ranking officials, and other movers and shakers - are verified by Twitter. You’ll see a blue check mark near the account owner’s name. When you hover your mouse over the check mark, it will display “Verified profile”. For example, if you go the British Monarchy’s Twitter account, you’ll see a blue check mark displayed next to the account name. You can then be assured that the account is indeed genuine.
Since most accounts are not verified by Twitter, the second method involves a bit of a legwork (or rather, fingerwork). If the person has an official website, check if the page has a “Follow me on Twitter” or similar button. This is also a tip for Twitter users who want to assure their audience of their authenticity. For example, MP Sangay Khandu’s official website (www.sangaykhandu.com) has a link to his Twitter account (twitter.com/sangaykhandu). You can therefore rest assured that the Twitter handle @sangaykhandu indeed belongs to MP Sangay Khandu.
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