FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – When Ole Miss rolls into Razorback Stadium for a frosty night game this evening, it won't be an issue for the Rebels.
Not because the players will have RealTree gear on to keep them warm. No, instead, they will be able to keep plenty warm from the heat generating around Lane Kiffin from all the Auburn rumors.
The turmoil at Twitter that has resulted in an unreliable free-for-all of fake accounts and false information has generated even more confusion.
Some fans have been slow to catch on that the blue check no longer means anything. The more legitimate and respected you are, the more likely you are to have an account made to look like yourself.
That is, except the Arkansas Razorback basketball team. They can't even make their own account look like themselves anymore.
Just know that if you see anything that says an accurate No. 9 Arkansas Razorback Men's Basketball, then it's probably fake.
Those who have realized the illegitimacy of blue check marks under the new Elon Musk regime are using it to create as much chaos as possible.
There are suspect accounts reporting everything from Kiffin having signed a deal already with Auburn to signing one of the greatest deals in college football history to stay with Ole Miss.
Then there was this.
Who needs Russia when you've got college football fans?
For those who are confused, the RebsToday "Retweet" is fake. As is 90% of what fans are seeing out there.
So how is someone who is looking for legitimate information on SEC coaching searches supposed to find it?
Well, recommendation No. 1 would be to not look for it on Twitter at the moment. The place is a giant funhouse full of mirrors that has destroyed its credibility.
Instead, bookmark your favorite sites and start going directly to them as much as possible. You can also dust off that Facebook account and follow the news that way, it just won't be quite as reliable as the old Twitter system of knowing blue check marks are reliable sources.
However, for some, that's a lot of effort. If you insist on sticking with Twitter, Rule No. 1 is to be skeptical of anything featuring a blue check mark.
Most companies decided when Musk first took over that the value of the blue check mark was gone the second Musk decided everyone could have one for a fee. Legitimate companies decided a fee to have something that no longer indicated they were for sure who they said they were was to be left to fools and scam artists.
In some cases, companies and organizations opted for the white check marks.
However, as can be seen in the RebsToday tweet, with no visual difference between white check marks and blue check marks other than color, these are easily faked with the lowest level of Photoshop skills. Even people functioning on an MS Paint level can now sow confusion and discord across American society.
The RebsToday post preys on what politicians and foreign countries figured out over a decade ago. On the whole, Americans tend to take at face value what they see as long as it confirms what they want to believe and will put little to no effort to look into something to verify it.
In this case, had anyone tried to click on the tweet, they would have found out it's just a photo and not an actual tweet. However, verification needs to come much deeper than that.
The initial red flag is that it's an Auburn University airport, but that checks out. No one doctored a photo and put that particular airport name just to get under people's skin.
The next step is to scan Kiffin's actual Twitter account. After all, that might just be a screen shot taken out of concern that Kiffin could delete the tweet if he got in too much hot water over it.
Note the date. The indication is that it was posted Nov. 18, 2022, which is Friday.
This is fortuitous as it only requires a short scroll through Kiffin's posts to see that it's not there.
That would still leave open the possibility that it was taken down, which would lend credence to the thought process behind the screen shot. However, it this were a legitimate tweet by a man as prominent on social media as Kiffin, it would be all over quality journalistic news outlets.
At some point, someone doctored the date, number of replies and the check mark to get over on SEC fans. A few caught on, but so many were victims of not doing their due diligence before accepting something as real.
The truth is that there has been a steady stream of talk about Auburn preparing to offer Kiffin an absurd amount of money since well before former Tigers coach Bryan Harsin was fired. However, it's Auburn, so all journalists know to not report anything coming out of there because of how unstable that athletic department is when it comes to making decisions.
It's the kind of place that will accidentally call a coach who has the same agent as the current coach or send a plane to go get a new coach while its current coach is still employed only to stick with the current coach for four or five more years.
If there's one institution in as big of disarray as Twitter headquarters these days it's the Auburn booster scene. Their planes probably are flying all over the country trying to land different coaches at the same time without consulting one another.
If an Auburn booster walked up to me on a sunny day and told me the sky was blue, I would immediately call three sources to verify because of how little trust is there.
For all we know, Bobby Petrino may finally make his way down onto the Plains. Houston Nutt and Guz Malzahn might appear in matching sweater vests as co-head coaches.
Anything is believable with this bunch.
The point is, a lot of the heat surrounding Kiffin falls on Elon Musk, Twitter trolls and the train wreck that is the Auburn booster system.
Be vigilant and don't trust anything until you see Auburn march out a new head coach to the podium.
Even then, flip on SEC Network to verify because deep fakes are a thing now too.
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