Red faces at Twitter – Wendi Deng account is a fake

3 Jan 2012

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Wendy Deng

There must have been red faces at Twitter today as its infamous ‘blue tick’ system of validating celebrities and other notables failed to spot that the @Wendi_Deng Twitter account that titillated the world for a day was fake.

On New Year’s Eve, newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch joined Twitter for the first time. Almost simultaneously an account in the name of Wendi Deng Murdoch was registered. Both accounts, one real and one fake, were given the blue tick for authenticity.

In just three days, @RupertMurdoch has amassed more than 91,000 followers. The fake @Wendi_Deng account had just 9,500 at the time of writing.

Nevertheless, for a day or more, @Wendi_Deng flirted with comedian Ricky Gervais and scolded Rupert Murdoch about removing a tweet he wrote.

However, the fake Wendi Deng brought the matter to a close by tweeting:

“Hello Twitter. As News International has finally come to their senses, it’s time to confirm that yes, this is a fake account. I’m not Wendi.”

The hoax was so convincing that not even News International spotted the blunder and does make you wonder what checks and balances Twitter applies to its mysterious ‘blue tick’ validation process.

Might I suggest they change it to a ‘red tick’ system to show that extra effort had gone into validating the next famous personage to grace Twitterville.


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years