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Twitter verified fake 2020 candidate created by high school student

Twitter verified fake 2020 candidate created by high school student
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Twitter earlier this month verified an account for a fake 2020 congressional candidate created by a teenager.

The account was for a fictional Republican congressional candidate from Rhode Island named Andrew Walz.

His Twitter bio claimed that Walz was a "proven business leader" and a "passionate advocate for students," CNN Business first reported.

The owner of the account was a 17-year-old high schooler from upstate New York who, according to the network, made the account over the holidays because he was "bored."

"During Christmas break I was kind of bored and I learned a lot from history class, but also on the news they were talking more about misinformation," the high school student told CNN Business.
 
The teen said it took him about 20 minutes to make the website for his candidate and then another five minutes to create the Twitter account.
 
He got his profile picture from a website called This Person Does Not Exist, which computer generates realistic photos of fake people.
 
Then, he filled out a short survey with information about his fake candidate on Ballotpedia, the nonprofit "Encylopedia for American Politics." Twitter announced in December that it would be partnering with the nonprofit in an attempt to verify more congressional candidates. 
 
However, according to the student, neither Twitter or Ballotpedia asked for any further kind of identification to confirm that Walz was, in fact, genuine.
 
The social media platform received flak last year after it said that it wouldn't verify candidates running for public office unless they won a primary.
 
Twitter's blue checkmark is something of a coveted benchmark. The platform gives them to accounts of prominent figures such as celebrities, journalists, government agencies, elected officials and candidates and businesses. 
 
In December, Twitter tweaked its policy, promising to verify all House, Senate or gubernatorial candidates who qualify for primaries in 2020.
 
Twitter has said that since implementing the policy it has verified almost 1,500 accounts.
 
“We’ve put into place a rigorous process to ensure that, through our partnership with Ballotpedia, we accurately identify and verify candidates’ legitimate Twitter accounts," a Twitter spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.
 
Continuing, the spokesperson addressed the verification of the fake account, saying, "Unfortunately, an individual found loopholes in our process by submitting a fake candidate and a fake account for verification. As soon as we discovered this inauthentic behavior, we took enforcement action on the account. Attempts to abuse this system diminish the integrity of the election." 
 
"The creation of a fake candidate account is in violation of our rules and the account has been permanently suspended," the spokesperson added.