“Official” Twitter account impersonating President Halimah Yacob removed by Twitter
Look carefully for the blue tick before retweeting.
It seems like every world leader these days has a Twitter account.
Even though the microblogging site has lost some ground to Instagram and (previously) Snapchat, it’s still a useful tool to deliver (short and) important policy messages and better connect with the public.
So it’s no surprise that Singapore’s new President, Halimah Yacob, would set up a Twitter account of her own.
But it wasn’t this one, which carried the handle @President_Yacob:
This account tweeted its first two messages on Monday, Sep. 18, which you can see below:
Twitter has since taken down this account for impersonation — it had by then amassed in excess of 240 followers.
If you saw the account while it was still active, you would have noticed a few warning signs to indicate that it is not legitimate.
Firstly, it does not have the blue tick Twitter usually gives to verify certain profiles. These ticks indicate that the account is genuine and really does belong to the person it claims to represent. Verified accounts have a blue tick symbol beside their names. For example:
And if that account tweets something, the blue tick will show up beside the Twitter handle on the tweet as well:
— Lee Hsien Loong (@leehsienloong) September 16, 2017
As you can see, the Twitter profile above that claimed to be our new president, even though it said it was her “official Twitter handle”, did not have the verified tick.
Another revealing detail is that Twitter lets you see when its accounts are created. And this profile was created in May 2017.
That was quite some time before Halimah officially confirmed in August that she intended to run for the Presidency. However, Yahoo Singapore previously reported that Halimah had thought about running since March 2017, quoting an unnamed source within the PAP.
This isn’t the only profile bearing Halimah’s name on Twitter, actually. A search turns up one other, created in March 2010 with zero tweets.
More impersonations on Instagram
Twitter is not the only social media platform with dubious accounts, of course. Instagram also has more than its fair share, although Halimah does have an official Instagram account, as evidenced by the blue tick symbol:
Twitter doesn’t ban all fake accounts, however. Parody accounts are allowed, as long as they clearly indicate that they are a parody and do not claim to be the real person. Take for example the parody accounts of PM Lee and the Straits Times.
Looks like Minister Khaw Boon Wan has arrived on time.
— Fake PM Lee (@Fake_PMLee) August 9, 2017
It tweets outrageous things, but it’s allowed to stay up as it has stated clearly that it’s a fake account.
Mothership has confirmed that the @President_Yacob profile is not legitimate and that it has been taken down by Twitter for impersonation. We’re also aware that President Halimah will have an official Twitter account, which has not yet been activated.
Top image via screenshot from Twitter.