LeBron James has not demanded a trade out of Los Angeles, but a newly verified Twitter account masquerading as the Lakers star tricked people into thinking so on Wednesday.
The hoax was a direct result of Elon Musk’s $US8 blue check-mark launch.
An account with the handle “@kIngjamez” was responsible for the plot
“I am officially requesting a trade,” it tweeted. “Thank you #LakersNation for all the support through the years. Onto bigger and better things! #ThekidfromAKRON #ImComingHome.”
Thu, 10 Nov
Thursday November 10th
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The Lakers are eyeing an atomic $185m trade … one shock option would turn the NBA upside down
James’ real account handle is @KingJames, and his most recent tweet is an ad for a video game. The slight change in spelling made the imposter account seem legitimate to many who did not read the handle or verification explanation carefully.
Another newly verified account pretended to be ESPN insider Adam Schefter, and claimed that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels had been fired. The account has since been suspended, but contained the same profile picture as Schefter’s real account.
Those accounts, garnering thousands of retweets before being suspended by Twitter, were not close to being one-offs.
An account purporting to be free-agent closer Aroldis Chapman claimed he’d be sticking with the Yankees for three more years. One person paid $US8 to appear to be Oilers superstar Connor McDavid and then claimed he was traded to the Islanders. Both accounts were also suspended.As new Twitter CEO, Musk has defended his decision to sell verification checks as a way for the company to make money.