COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — With Twitter and its features in flux at the helm of new owner Elon Musk, Ohio politicians are still taking to the platform for public statements.
Among scores of layoffs and resignations at Twitter, last week’s relaunch of Twitter Blue led to users with newly purchased blue verification checkmarks posing as high-profile figures and organizations — including pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, video game brand Nintendo of America, and former President George W. Bush.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was among the ranks.
“Thank you for re-electing me as your governor of Ohio! My first order of business will be eradicating the people of Columbus,” a tweet since deleted read. The account that sent the tweet out was freshly verified via Twitter Blue and donned a slightly grainy profile picture of DeWine.
Still, joke accounts won’t deter the real governor’s office from putting out public messages on the application — at least for now.
“Parody Twitter accounts existed well prior to last week, and they did not affect the office’s use of Twitter to communicate to Ohioans and news media back then either,” DeWine spokesperson Dan Tierney wrote in an email.
Twitter began to roll out for-purchase verification checkmarks as part of its latest version of Twitter Blue, a subscriber-only service within the app that also offers early access to features for $7.99 per month. That was halted last Thursday, but Musk said in a tweet Tuesday the latest version of Twitter Blue will relaunch on Nov. 29.
Those blue checks were previously reserved for users verified by Twitter who were “active, notable, and authentic accounts of public interest,” according to Twitter’s website.
Shortly before it was halted, a Washington Post reporter was able to pose as Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts by buying a checkmark through Twitter Blue under the handle @realedmarkey. After the story was published, the real Markey said — on Twitter — he was “asking for answers from @elonmusk who is putting profits over people.”
Twitter has long been considered a digital public square, including for political figures. Some take to the app to comment on pending legislation or to sling mud at their political opponents on the campaign trail — and most Buckeye State politicos seem to still be using the app in the same vein.
After former President Donald Trump announced another bid for the White House on Tuesday night, Rep. Mike Carey (R-OH 15) weighed in, tweeting Wednesday morning that he endorsed the former president in his 2024 run.
Rep. Jim Jordan’s feed, which boasts 3.2 million Twitter followers, hasn’t slowed. His office didn’t respond to a request for comment on Jordan’s future Twitter use. Neither did several Ohio political figures after verified parody accounts popped up for them.
Politicians’ use of Twitter seems to be continuing as usual, at least for now. With the year-end session moving full steam ahead at the Ohio General Assembly, both the Ohio House GOP and Democrats used the platform Wednesday to send out strings of tweets about the progress of various bills.