How One 19-Year-Old Trolled Thousands of NFL Fans Before Being Suspended Under Elon Musk's Regime
The teenager created a fake account pretending to be NFL analyst Adam Schefter.
Elon Musk's rollout and subsequent retraction of Twitter Blue, which gave accounts access to blue checkmarks if they paid a $7.99 monthly fee, has been nothing short of disastrous from the beginning to the present.
After the rollout, Musk and Twitter dealt with an influx of parody and troll accounts posing as high-profile individuals and organizations, and in some cases, the accounts were so close, it was impossible to tell if it was real, which left many users confused. This reportedly made Twitter pause the option to subscribe on Friday.
One of the early parody accounts was @AdamSchefterN0T, an account run by an anonymous 18-year-old who posed as NFL analyst Adam Schefter (complete with a new blue check) and began to fool millions in a series of viral Tweets that landed him in hot water and with an eventual Twitter suspension.
The account was extremely convincing, as it used the same avatar, display name, bio and syntax in tweets as the real Adam Schefter account except for one discrepancy — the @ handle was different.
@AdamSchefterN0T first made waves when it Tweeted that the head coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders, Josh McDaniels, was fired, and at first glance for those scrolling through their feed, the display name and the blue checkmark next to Schefter's name made it seem legitimate, fueling rumors and fire on the site.
Musk said earlier in his acquisition that parody accounts must disclose that they are parody accounts in their bios.
The 19-year-old behind the fake Schefter account, however, maintained that he stayed within Musk's original guidelines because he had pinned a Tweet to the top of the profile stating "I am not Adam Schefter this is a parody account."
Other viral claims by the account included other fake NFL-related news that the Dallas Cowboys were signing Odell Beckham Jr. and that Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields was being suspended for antisemitic related interests.
"I think Musk buying Twitter was a shift in people being more outspoken on the platform without fear of cancellation," the account owner told Daily Dot. "My bio and pinned tweet clearly state to not take my tweet as fact, simply clicking on my profile will let the user be aware that this account is parody."
The account presumably prompted Musk's new policy that parody accounts must now include "parody" in their names as well.Embed
To be more precise, accounts doing parody impersonations. Basically, tricking people is not ok.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 11, 2022
"To avoid confusing others about an account's affiliation, parody, commentary, and fan accounts must distinguish themselves in BOTH their account name and bio," the statement says. "The account name should clearly indicate that the account is not affiliated with the subject portrayed in the profile."
Musk did not publicly comment on the @AdamSchefterN0T profile directly.