British celebrities pile onto Twitter: beware the fakers

Filed as News on January 27, 2009 8:11 am

Twitter is getting some serious celebrity support in the UK at present, with a number of high-profile figures (mainly from popular TV and radio shows) now using the microblogging service.

The likes of Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand, Philip Schofield, Alan Carr and Andi Peters are definitely confirmed, while Adrian Edmonson, Rik Mayall and a host of others are either unconfirmed (by me, anyway) or are impostors (update: the “RikMayall” account is fake). (Apologies to non-UK readers who may never have heard of many of these names)

Therein lies one problem: plenty of people are happy to set up “fake” accounts and pretend to be a particular celebrity. Presumably it gives them some kind of buzz, and it’s much easier to fool at least a small number of fans online that in real life.

The other problem is that of legitimate but compromised accounts, with the latest controversy surrounding Kanye West who claims that his Twitter account was hacked.

Cyber-squatting on a Twitter account is even easier than on a domain name and it could prove to be a real headache for stars and their agents. One solution — and one that comes more easily to public figures — is to publicise your online presence in other places that are much harder to fake, such as TV and radio.

What do you think of celebrities using Twitter? Will it help Twitter go mainstream?

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  1. By MoJo posted on January 27, 2009 at 10:49 am
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    Stephen Fry was just on Jonathan Ross’ show talking about Twitter! It’s really nice, but I don’t think I’d want too many celebrities crowding up the joint. (Just imagine a Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan on Twitter!) What has been nice, though, is that Ross has actually confirmed as to whether or not certain accounts are authentic, if you go back and look at his past Tweets.

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  2. By Ashley Norris posted on January 28, 2009 at 11:47 am
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    Nice piece Andy. Here’s my take on why I think Brits have taken to Twitter.

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  3. By Annette Kerr posted on January 28, 2009 at 3:39 pm
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    I’m always dubious when I see a celebrity name on Twitter. My first reaction is that they are most likely a fake.

    I must admit that I was even wary at Stephen Fry at first, when I noticed that he was following me. However, after visitng his blog and viewing the wonderful pictures of his travels, I was hooked. I love following him on his adventures.

    Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross & Philip Schofield have helped to raise the profile of Twitter in the past few weeks. The media attention that Twitter has been receiving in the UK has been great for my favourite social networking site. I now have a great many more UK followers than I had just a couple of months ago, when I was connecting mainly with people from the US and Canada.

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  4. By Chris P. posted on January 29, 2009 at 1:06 am
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    You apologise for the Z-list celebs to your non-UK readers, what about those of us in the UK ,).

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  5. By Wary posted on February 4, 2009 at 7:19 am
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    The fake celebs are so tiresome – takes a sad person to impersonate someone famous like that.

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  6. By Tom Davenport posted on February 10, 2009 at 5:05 am
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    There are some intentionally fake accounts which are quite funny, where they are so obviously fake it’s a piss take. One or two anyway. It does confuse me when someone it trying to get away with seeming like the real deal, though.

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  7. By Tanner posted on March 10, 2009 at 11:57 am
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    It’s not just British celebrities, there are A TON of celebrities from around the world that are hopping on Twitter.

    Here’s a nice list of some of them: http://coolspotters.com/websites/twitter/and/celebrities

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