LeBron James Impersonator Causes Stir With Fake Tweet After Paid Verification Feature

Shortly after the platform allows users to pay $8 per month for a blue checkmark, a newly-verified account pretends to be the Los Angeles Lakers player and successfully fools some NBA fans.

AceShowbiz - Twitter's new verification feature is already a disaster. Shortly after the platform allows users to pay $8 per month for a blue checkmark, a newly-verified account pretended to be LeBron James and successfully fooled some NBA fans.

The account, which handle reads @KINGJamez, duplicated LeBron's current profile picture and sent people into social media frenzy after tweeting about requesting a trade from Los Angeles Lakers. "I am officially requesting a trade," the bogus tweet read. "Thank you #LakersNation for all the support through the years. Onto bigger and better things! #ThekidfromAKRON #ImComingHome."

NBC News reporter Ben Collins then reminded people that it was not the NBA star's real account. "This is not LeBron. It's a random person who paid $8. He did not demand a trade. Would you know that by just looking at it?" he wrote while quote-retweeting the post.

"Here was the tweet. They're banking on the fact that their moderation team will catch up to every single account impersonating someone - even if that person is impersonating a no-name government official. This is going to be a nightmare that'll be very funny before it's scary," he continued.

LeBron wasn't the only public figure who fell victim to the new verification feature on Twitter. One account pretending to be NFL insider Adam Schefter took to the platform to falsely state that the Las Vegas Raiders had fired head coach Josh McDaniels.

"A brand new parody Twitter account that paid for verification and chose the display name of ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Josh McDaniels was fired. The credible-looking tweet received nearly 10,000 engagements. Twitter suspended the account after two hours," reporter Jordan Liles noted. The two accounts have since been suspended.

Elon Musk, the new Twitter CEO, previously threatened to "permanently suspend" anyone who impersonates another person without identifying themselves as a "parody" account. He wrote in a tweet, "Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying 'parody' will be permanently suspended."

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