Oops! Twitter has been left shamefaced after a high profile "verified" account in the name of the wife of global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch turned out to be phony.
It appeared the fake account was set up on New Year's Day, one day after Murdoch himself made his Twitter debut, touching on topics like politics, films, his vacation and the weather.
"Joining my husband @rupertmurdoch in our new digital adventure on Twitter," read the profile, alongside a photo of the smiling Murdochs at the New York City premiere of the film Australia.
The anonymous imposter first prompted raised eyebrows when a tweet scolding the media magnate went viral on Monday.
"Maybe Brits have too many holidays for broke country!" the real Rupert tweeted, prompting a flurry of offended responses.
His wife's impersonator responded: "RUPERT!!! Delete tweet!"
Murdoch eventually did.
The fake Mrs. Murdoch also told comedian Ricky Gervais he looked "hot" and told reality star Kim Kardashian they shared similar views on New Year's resolutions.
Confusion over whether the account was real or not was further fueled by a News International spokeswoman, who told the BBC the account was real late on Monday evening.
"Hello Twitter. As News International has finally come to their senses, it's time to confirm that yes, this is a fake account. I'm not Wendi," the mystery @Wendi_Deng said in a lively chat with the account's nearly 10,000 followers Tuesday.
"To those of you who kept maintaining the account was fake, even after being verified, good on you for being suspicious. Above all, this was a bit of fun. If you don't think it was, then you'd better ask Twitter to remove every other spoof account, too," the prankster added.
"We don't comment on our verification process, but can confirm that the @wendi_deng account was mistakenly verified for a short period of time. We apologize for the confusion this caused," spokesfolks for the microblogging website said Tuesday.
Twitter says it grants a lime green "Verified Badge" to well-known users, such as celebrities, once it has established their authenticity, for example through a link with an official website.
"What verification process?… There was none. I was never contacted," the faux Wendi replied.
"And you have to wonder even more why Twitter verified this account for a full day. I never received any communication from them about this… I was as surprised -- and even a little alarmed -- when I saw the Verified tick appear on the profile."
The fake Wendi changed her -- or his -- profile Tuesday to mock Twitter and News Corp. for falling for the hoax.
"Verifiably not @rupermurdoch's wife. Unless you're Twitter. Or News International. SPOOF ACCOUNT," the profile now reads.
In July, the Chinese-born Mrs. Murdoch, 43, famously leapt out of her seat and attacked a protester who hit her beloved meal ticket Ruppy with a cream pie as he testified before a British parliamentary committee. Murdoch came under fire over the hacking of cell phone voicemails by his now-defunct tabloid, News of the World.
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