top of page
  • Lawrence Ng

Twitter Mistakenly Verifies Fake Account of a Cat Following Public Verification System Rollout

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

On Monday, Data Scientist Conspirador Norteño tweeted about six Twitter accounts set up on 16 June 2021 that the micro-blogging platform mistakenly verified. One of them was a cat.

Norteño, who researches disinformation, noticed that the newly-made fake accounts had zero tweets and shared nearly the same amount of followers. Two of them had profile pictures that appear to be stock images.

The six users were all followed by 976 dummy accounts made either on 19 or 20 June 2021, all of which he reported are products of an astroturf botnet that hosts at least 1212 accounts.

Among them are 512 accounts that have display pictures created by a generative adversarial network (GAN), an artificial intelligence technology that makes composite images of humans, animals and even anime characters that are not real. Specifically, the AI made 169 fake cats, 183 anime photos and 160 fake human faces.

In light of the incident, Twitter admitted that it haphazardly verified deceptive accounts.

“We mistakenly approved the verification applications of a small number of inauthentic (fake) accounts. We have now permanently suspended the accounts in question, and removed their verified badge, under our platform manipulation and spam policy,” said a Twitter spokesperson in a statement forwarded to Daily Dot.

Currently, the sextet of blue-checked profiles cannot be accessed on Twitter following the suspension.

As the entire ordeal invited many questions from Twitter users, Facebook’s former Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos believed that the verification of fake accounts was an inside job. A day later, he clarified that there was no insider involved in the scheme but failed to mention where he got the information.

Twitter Laptop

Credit: Jaap Arriens, NurPhoto via Getty Images

On 20 May 2021, Twitter relaunched its verification system, which now lets the public apply for a blue check on the site. According to the company, user feedback influenced the change in policy.

The tech giant also announced that it began automatically forfeiting verified badges from accounts that do not follow the revised verification criteria, mainly inactive or incomplete profiles.

Twitter noted that belonging to one of the six categories will make a person eligible for verification:

  1. Government

  2. Companies, brands and organisations

  3. News organisations and journalists

  4. Entertainment

  5. Sports and gaming

  6. Activists, organisations and other influential individuals

Before applying, it is recommended that interested users include their name, image and confirmed email address or phone number on their profile. They must also be active on Twitter for the past six months prior to their application and follow the platform’s rules.


Written by Sophia Lopez

As technology advances and has a greater impact on our lives than ever before, being informed is the only way to keep up.  Through our product reviews and news articles, we want to be able to aid our readers in doing so. All of our reviews are carefully written, offer unique insights and critiques, and provide trustworthy recommendations. Our news stories are sourced from trustworthy sources, fact-checked by our team, and presented with the help of AI to make them easier to comprehend for our readers. If you notice any errors in our product reviews or news stories, please email us at  Your input will be important in ensuring that our articles are accurate for all of our readers.

bottom of page