Facebook verified a fan page masquerading as Elon Musk, but now the page is gone

A Facebook fan page for Elon Musk with 153,000 followers had been verified as the official page representing Tesla Technoking – in violation of Facebook’s own rules – but sometime after that story was first posted on Monday, the page became unreachable. It is not known if Facebook has removed it or if the owners have chosen to make it unavailable.

To be clear, the page was not claim it is Musk; he openly stated that it was a fan page in his About section (emphasis added):

Musk owns a Tesla Roadster 0001 (the first to roll off the production line) from Tesla Motors, a company in which he is an early investor. The Roadster is a battery-powered electric sports car with a range of 220 miles.

This is a fanpage, uploading tweets, etc. from him

Here is the description of the page, which indicates that it is a fan page.

When we wrote about it, there were only 10 posts on the page, with the first dating October 21. One was a photo of Musk, the other was a notification that the page had updated their profile photo to one featuring Musk, and the others appeared to be reposts from recent tweets.

The page didn’t start out as a fan page for Elon Musk. The Page Transparency tab – which shows a page’s history, who it is managed by, and whether it serves ads – indicates that the page was created on July 28, 2019 to represent a “Kizito Gavin”, which is the reverse name of football. player Gavin Kizito.

The page has changed its name six times, all in 2021, the last time to Elon Musk twice (sort of) on October 17. The Transparency section of the page also indicated that the people managing the page were based in Egypt. Musk lives in Texas.

The page started off as Kizito Gavin’s, but is now apparently Elon Musk’s official page.

Also note: the URL of the page has cut off the end of the word “official” – https://www.facebook.com/ElonMuskoffici – which doesn’t sound very official.

It is not known when the page was checked. Facebook’s verification rules state that the company has “confirmed that the page or profile is the genuine presence of the public figure or brand it represents.” To be verified on Facebook, you need to fill out a form which, among other things, requires the applicant to share official identification in the form of a driver’s license, passport, national identity card. , a tax return, a recent utility bill or articles of incorporation.

Verification is a challenge for large social media platforms. Twitter has also struggled with the problem. It suspended its verification program in 2017 and relaunched it earlier this year. The stimulus was somewhat bumpy, however, and the company admitted in July that it had mistakenly verified a small number of fake accounts.

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, did not respond to requests for comment.

Updated November 1, 7:26 p.m. ET: The page is no longer available.

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