Last night, I noticed some bizarre tweets from Filmfare editor Jitesh Pillai (Itâ??s Pillaai, if you go by his Twitter handle).

If you allow me a mild digression, the crux of his tweets is this: â??We scratch all Bollywood stars’ backs even if they or their films completely suck; and we expect the favor to be returned in the form of attendance to Filmfare awards, every yearâ??. Digression ends.

Beyond this obviously blatant show of <fill appropriate word here>, what caught my attention was Jahan Bakshiâ??s tweet.

Mr Filmfare Editor just RTed a tweet from a (very clearly) fake Bipasha Basu profile. Facepalm.

I checked Jiteshâ??s Twitter stream and noticed that he had a response from Bipasha Basu and he had retweeted a tweet from her as well.


And then I checked that Bipasha Basu Twitter handle. It had 78 followers!!

It was indeed a fake handle and uses the same tactic as the now-suspended fake PMOIndia account. All these fakesters do is replace â??iâ?? with a â??lâ?? (small L). When one sees the handle it looks exactly same, particularly on a phoneâ?¦it is very misleading!

Iâ??m sure fans of Bipasha Basu will soon alert the lady and Twitter may suspend the fake account, but I believe Twitter needs to do something beyond suspending such accounts to ensure that more such folks donâ??t create misleading accounts.

In case of the fake PMO India handle, they had clearly mentioned that it was fake and was an unofficial handle (in the bio), but this fake Bipasha handle is scary. Except the background image (which is no big deal anyway), everything is exactly the same! Only thing â?? the real lady has a verified account and the fake one obviously doesnâ??t â?? so that verified mark helps in distinguishing the real from the fake.

But as I said, for all practical purposes, nobody really checks all those things while having a conversation â?? the handle looks exactly like the real one because of the I and L loophole. And the fake handle owners are clearly very smart – they track and follow all those people who are being followed by their real selves and enter into a conversation with them!

I have no idea what Twitter can do about it â?? this is quite a perplexing problem for them. Since there is no difference between capital letters and small letters, they canâ??t enforce that level of check either. I really wonder…havenâ??t they come across this so far? What have they done to stop it? Or, is India the first country to pose this bizarre misrepresentation?

What do you think they can do to avoid this scam from happening to other accounts with a small I or and L in the handle?



6 thoughts on “Twitter’s perplexing I and L misrepresentation problem

  1. Just thinking loud… Can Twitter make it mandatory for all users to change their handle to be only in CAPS or can include only CAPS n numbers?? That might solve the problem…

  2. Well, until twitter figures it out, what users can do is pay attention to the url. The handle on the twitter page might be show the capital I and small L to be similar. But the handle in the url can be figured out easily.

    1. This will work only if you’re accessing it via web interface. A lot of users login to twitter via mobile apps and you won’t be able to see the URL for the profiles there.

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