Twitter sort of exploded on Friday when a tweet purportedly from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman suggesting that his paper drop fellow columnist Thomas Friedman. It turned out to be a fake, and the real Krugman isn't happy about the Twitter shenanigans. Krugman told The Atlantic Wire in an email, "It's another fake. I don't use Twitter -- all I have is automatic notification of blog posts." He followed up a few minutes later, "Oh, just to say that I must be pretty effective if people think they have to invent stuff to discredit." So we don't have a pundit war on our hands. The left-leaning Timesman with a Nobel Prize versus the right-leaning Timesman with some best-selling books would be a fun battle royale, but at least Twitter's verification badge seems to be working again.
For some of those who follow Krugman's work closely, the canard didn't really work. Krugman blogged nearly two years ago about what he termed "Twitter Identity Theft," writing how "someone (not me, obviously) set up a Twitter account in my name." Nevertheless, people react quickly on Twitter, even smart people. Salon's Glenn Greenwald bought the bold-sounding statement at first:
Paul Krugman asks a very good -- and, coming from him, very interesting -- question:is.gd/1C93TH— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 6, 2012
And Greenwald quickly followed up after some pointed out that it was a fake Twitter account -- actually there were two -- that sent the tweet:
@mcalderone Yeah, I know - but that just churns out links - always assumed that was just a NYT one - the other was personal— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 6, 2012
It's not. But don't ask Twitter about it. As the company's told us time and time again, it won't comment on individual accounts, regardless of what the accounts are saying and who it appears is saying it.