Twitter Verification Lesson: DJ Mister Cee

23 Oct

A common pitfall of misreporting information on/via Twitter is trusting a fake account.

Although it was more than a month ago, I want to give some insight into how I determined a Twitter account we were examining for the Daily News was fake.

Follow me on Twitter – my account isn’t fake!

It came about when DJ Mister Cee, the popular Hot 97 (NYC) emcee, resigned after he was caught on video picking up a cross-dresser. The person behind account @Real_MisterCee claimed to be the DJ, and we wanted to know if these (and some RTs not shown here) were real.

Here’s how I determined the account is, in fact, fake.

1. The account doesn’t have a verified checkmark. Certainly this isn’t a death knell, but a non-verified account claiming to represent a public figure – even a radio DJ – is a red flag. (In fact, AP doesn’t trust the Twitter verified checkmark when it does exist, as I heard social media editor Eric Carvin say at a session earlier this year.)

2. @HOT97‘s verified account had mentioned @Real_MisterCee – more than a year ago.

Although this is no guarantee the latter account is real, it lent some credibility, but the dates were problematic.

@HOT97 hadn’t mentioned @Real_MisterCee since Jan. 19, 2012. (I used Topsy to find these.)

3. The next place I looked was the HOT 97 website, which lists its on-air personalities along with their social media accounts. Of the more than two dozen DJs listed, Mister Cee was (and still is) the only one without a link to a Twitter account next to his photo.

This gave me confidence the account wasn’t real. And if that wasn’t enough…

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 9.20.37 PM

4. Lo and behold, we also got an email from someone claiming to be a friend of Mister Cee stating that the Twitter account was fake. This friend contacted us from what we determined to be a valid email address. This was the nail in the coffin, though I had already given the kill order after No. 3.

(If you’re wondering how the story ends, the station declined Mister Cee’s resignation and he remains at his job more than a month later.)

By the way, @Real_MisterCee hasn’t tweeted since Sept. 12, which is when the tweets controversy-related tweets were posted.

Do you have any Twitter verification techniques to share? Write them in the comments.

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