Economics/Class Relations

The Wild West of Twitter

Nicholas Carlson November 11, 2022


Hello, Insiders. Before we get into the newsletter, today is Veterans Day, and I want to start by saying thank you to all the veterans for your service to our country. We are forever grateful.

Now, let’s take a look at today’s top stories.


It’s time to revisit the airplane etiquette debate. Last month, TikTok was up in arms over a woman who refused to switch seats so a family could sit together. (The kicker is that it seems they were asking her to leave first class.) Now there’s another viral post on the same topic: This time, a mom who asked a passenger to switch seats in a “win-win” deal, where the other passenger got to move to a seat with more legroom.


That sounds a lot more reasonable. It’s nice to help families sit together, but sucks to be asked to leave a great seat for a crappy one. What do you think? Email to share your thoughts.


By the way, I read every single email we receive in that inbox (no exaggeration!), and I’d love to start sharing some of these “letters to the editor” soon — so stay tuned for that.

If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.

The latest
  • Elon Musk sent a 2:30 a.m. email to staff announcing the end of remote working at Twitter. Read it here.
The big story
Getty Images/Rachel Mendelson/Insider


Twitter’s verification system is a mess.


Elon Musk opened up Twitter’s blue checkmark system to anyone willing to pay $8 a month — leading to a Wild West of scamming and parody.


Some companies have decided to pause their advertising following a surge of hate speech on the platform. (And the memes making fun of anyone with paid verification are merciless.)


Meanwhile, verified accounts are now impersonating public figures, from star athletes to former presidents.


Here’s a few examples: One verified account in the name of “George W. Bush” was taken down after tweeting “I miss killing Iraqis” and a sad-face emoji. A verified post from an account impersonating NBA star LeBron James said he was “officially requesting a trade.”


One user even told us how they impersonated a famous YouTuber with the $8 verification — and said the whole process only took 25 minutes.


To try and combat the surge in fake verified accounts, Twitter this week rolled out a new “Official” verification badge to identify press outlets, celebrities, and other high-profile accounts. Musk killed the new badge within hours, describing it as an “aesthetic nightmare.” But as the impersonations piled up, Twitter reversed its reversal.


The indecision and the ease with which public figures can be impersonated suggest Twitter will be playing whack-a-mole to track and block parody accounts.

Read the full story here.

Top reads
Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images


  • LinkedIn ghostwriters are making big bucks. Execs are on the hunt for ghostwriters to help them craft LinkedIn content — and they’re willing to pay serious money for it. Several ghostwriters told us they raised their prices 40% to meet a surging demand, with some making $12,700 for just 16 posts. Find out how they do it.
  • Nick Nolte opens up about turning his back on Hollywood. Throughout his career, Nolte’s bad-boy antics sometimes overshadowed his talents — like when his disheveled 2002 mugshot went viral (before the phrase existed) or when he got into a publicized feud with Julia Roberts. Read our candid conversation with him here.
  • Like cinnamon rolls? A professional baker visited three popular grocery stores to see who does them the best. Cinnamon rolls are a favorite comfort food for many, but they can be a little tricky to bake at home. Baker Molly Allen visited Walmart, Safeway, and Kroger — but only one made cinnamon rolls good enough for her to buy again.
  • It may seem like Twitter is a mess, but one expert thinks Musk’s master plan is taking shape. If you can look past the mayhem since Musk took over, social media expert Matt Navarra says you may be able to see the billionaire taking steps toward turning Twitter into a “super-app.” Here are the moves you might have missed.
  • A TikToker has raised almost $170,000 for a Walmart worker to retire. The worker originally told TikToker Dbon973_ that she needed to keep working to pay her mortgage — but said she’d retire as soon as she got enough money to cover the costs. Get the full story here
Today’s sound bite
“The early indications are no one will ever trust this company or Sam Bankman-Fried again.”
Insider’s Matthew Fox on how crypto exchange FTX dramatically collapsed in just a week, and check out the full segment in today’s episode of The Refresh from Insider.
Watch this
Nicole was the first hurricane to hit the US in November in nearly 40 years. Nicole, now a tropical storm, left over 300,000 homes in Florida without power.
Today’s team
Nicholas Carlson (@nichcarlson), Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock), Lisa Ryan (@lisarya), and Shona Ghosh (@shonaghosh).
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