How Twitter made a hash of verifying Mrs. Murdoch

It was a comedy. It was a tragedy. There was carelessness. There was an unnoticed underscore. But now the real Wendi Deng Murdoch has frozen her real Twitter feed. And the fake is leaving too.

Hope in human relationships had taken a step forward when it seemed that Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, was communicating with him publicly on Twitter.

That hope was dashed when the verified @Wendi_Deng feed turned out to be fake. How, then, did Twitter make a hash of this verifiably simple situation?

AllThingsD, with Santorum-like determination, appears to have secured the reason for a state of affairs so hapless that Mrs. Murdoch has now frozen the Twitter feed she already had: @wendideng.

You might have already noticed the difference between these two Twitter handles. Yes, the impostor has an underscore.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

This, it seems, may have fooled a perhaps post-holiday party fatigued Twitter employee. This employee, on conversing with Mrs. Murdoch's assistant to check which was the real account, then proceeded to verify the wrong one.

Twitter apparently thought the underscored account contained the true and verified words of Mrs. Murdoch.

But what might have seemed like comedy has now turned to tragedy. For not only do we seem (at least temporarily) to have lost the real Wendi Deng, the fake one is also bidding adieu.

The gentleman in England who wrote the feed tweeted just a couple of hours ago: "Anyway, with the news that Twitter's verification happened because of a typo (which I love, by the way), that's the end of this account."

One can only hope this tragic situation will be alleviated by Murdoch tweeting his support for, say, the mass nationalization of Wall Street.

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