Rupert Murdoch’s wife hit by Twitter hoax

Sally Herships Jan 3, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: You can — should you so choose — follow me on Twitter: @kairyssdal is that handle. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s really me doing the tweeting.

But for actual celebrities and higher-profile people, Twitter will verify that the tweeter is actually who he or she says he is. Sort of.

Rupert Murdoch’s wife started a Twitter account this weekend. Yes, that Rupert Murdoch — he of News Corp and British phone-hacking scandal fame. Except the account @Wendi_Deng wasn’t really Mrs. Murdoch at all.

Sally Herships has more.

Sally Herships: The latest symbol of celebrity status is having someone fake, or hack, your Twitter account.   

David Hauslaib: Bristol Palin, Selena Gomez, Marc Jacobs.

That’s David Hauslaib, editor of celebrity news site Pink is the New Blog.  He says for A-listers, getting Twitter-faked happens all the time. A couple of years ago, Twitter itself got hacked.

Hauslaib: And that led to Britney spear’s official account tweeting about her private parts.

One troublemaker at a keyboard can stir up a lot of mess with social media. Sharon Waxman is editor of

Sharon Waxman: I mean there’s like a million Lady Gaga doppelganger accounts or whatever you want to call them.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is real. To prevent bogus accounts, Twitter says it first started verifying authors back in 2009. But the process isn’t perfect. Twitter said today it had mistakenly verified the account of Rupert Murdoch’s wife. And for Gaga-level celebrities, this can be a monster-sized problem.

Sharon Waxman again.

Waxman: Because the whole idea of Twitter is that celebrities have direct access with their fans.

Which fans love. Direct access. Not through a movie studio or a record company. Celebrities love it too. Joel Piper is a pop singer. He’s just wrapping up a tour so he called me from the road.

Joel Piper: I actually have conversations with a lot of fans and they don’t have my phone number.

Piper calls his 17,000 Twitter followers his friends — except for the ones who create fake accounts. But despite the hassles, Piper says it’s worth it. And so likely, does Rupert Murdoch. His verified Twitter account which he opened this weekend already has over 95,000 followers.

In New York, I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

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