Excerpt from a Time.com story. Link to full story below.
Rupert Murdoch Has Joined Twitter, But His Wife’s Account Isn’t Real
January 3, 2012
The case of the fake Wendi Deng Twitter account began on Dec. 31, when Deng’s husband joined the microblogging site using the name @rupertmurdoch. Twitter certified the account as authentic, plastering the blue-and-white check mark on its profile page. His tweets were harmless enough: he devoted his 140 characters to relaying details of his family holiday in St. Barth’s in the Caribbean. “Great time in sea with young daughters, uboating,” read one. “I LOVE the film ‘we bought a zoo’, a great family movie. Very proud of fox team who made this great film,” read another.
On Jan. 1, an account called @wendi_deng cropped up, and its profile proclaimed it was Wendi Deng Murdoch herself. “Joining my husband @rupertmurdoch in our new digital adventure on Twitter.”
I read the entire Twitter timeline of @Wendi_Deng and I find it -- like the numerous spoof accounts thriving on social media -- trying to use the system for mainly fun purposes. The person behind the account didn't harm anyone in the process, s/he actually portrayed Wendi Deng as a real person, protective of her husband, playful and with a not-so-bad sense of humor.
The main problem here is not what the @Wendi_Deng character did or said. As I see it, the problem lies in Twitter's verification of the @Wendi_Deng account which led media outlets to believe the account belongs to Murdoch's wife and started the usual frenzy coverage of it. Why did Twitter verify the account so quickly, and without any authentication process? The person behind the @Wendi_Deng account claims she was shocked by the verification as much others were. She gave credit who were still skeptical even after the Twitter verification.
What do you think? Who's in the wrong here? How do you feel about those who impersonate celebrities on social media? What do you think people should do to protect their name, identity and reputation online?