New Twitter rules expose election offices to spoof accounts

May 8, 2023 | Political News

Tracking down accurate information about Philadelphia’s elections on Twitter used to be easy. The account for the city commissioners who run elections, @phillyvotes, was the only one carrying a blue check mark, a sign of authenticity. 

But ever since the social media platform overhauled its verification service last month, the check mark has disappeared. That’s made it harder to distinguish @phillyvotes from a list of random accounts not run by the elections office but with very similar names. 

The election commission applied weeks ago for a gray check mark — Twitter’s new symbol to help users identify official government accounts – but has yet to hear back from the Twitter, commission spokesman Nick Custodio said. It’s unclear whether @phillyvotes is an eligible government account under Twitter’s new rules. 

That’s troubling, Custodio said, because Pennsylvania has a primary election May 16 and the commission uses its account to share important information with voters in real time. If the account remains unverified, it will be easier to impersonate – and harder for voters to trust – heading into Election Day.