The check mark gave it the semblance of legitimacy, but a popular Twitter account associated with Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men,” verified by too not verified is a fake, his agent said on Monday.
The @CormacMcCrthy account had gained more than 49,000 followers since it was created in September 2018 by someone who pretended to be Mr. McCarthy, a storyteller with an alleged dislike of computers.
The voice on Twitter was an unfamiliar voice to fans of Mr. McCarthy’s prose, known for intense and sometimes sadistic narratives that often play off good versus bad.
The tweets pondered things like Kombucha, TikTok, and Disney +, and their funny and stingy tone generated tens of thousands of retweets and likes.
The tone was uncharacteristic of Mr. McCarthy, whose books are often framed by the subject of death and somber imagery, from poisonous rattlesnakes in the Mojave Desert to a psychopathic killer whose main weapon is a nail gun used to butcher cattle.
When he wrote in “Blood Meridian” about a mercenary troop sitting around a fire in the southwest, he set the scene:
“The flames sawed apart in the wind, and the embers grew pale and deeper and paler and deeper like the blood of a living being that grazes on the ground in front of them, and they watched, like the fire that contains something of the people themselves insofar as they are less without it and are separated from their origins and are in exile, ”he wrote.
However, posting on Twitter seemed like a chore for the person who was pretending to be Mr. McCarthy.
Stephen King made a couple of jokes with the tweets writer who cast Mr. McCarthy, 88, a newbie to social media, to please a frequently mentioned publicist named Terry.
“My publicist is in my case because of my infrequent use of this infernal website,” the person wrote on Friday, drawing attention to the report. “He says the engagement has worn off, as have the metrics and something that cares. I tweeted that. Are you happy now, Terry.”
Mr. King signaled his approval two days later. “I don’t know if it is Terry, but it is me,” he wrote.
Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, the publisher of McCarthy, said Monday the account was a fake.
“We are in the process of alerting our colleagues on Twitter,” he said. “The verification process is clearly not bulletproof.”
Amanda Urban, Mr. McCarthy’s agent, added, “This is definitely not Cormac.”
A representative for Twitter said Monday that “the referenced account was accidentally verified and has since been revoked.”
By Monday afternoon, the white tick on a blue badge – the name given to verified accounts used by celebrities, writers, politicians and journalists – had been removed.
It wasn’t clear how long the account was verified. Twitter didn’t answer questions about how the error came about. Going forward, the company said it would require the account to comply with its policy of having spoof or fan accounts with labels.
Twitter itself once selected famous people’s accounts for verification. The ticks have become a kind of status symbol on the social media platform and are intended to distinguish celebrities from imitators. Now users can request that their accounts be verified.
This wasn’t the first hype about Mr. McCarthy’s social media footprint – or its lack of it.
In 2012, The Atlantic reported that an unpublished writer from Scotland posed as Mr. McCarthy on Twitter, which caught the attention of writer Margaret Atwood and Jack Dorsey, founder and current CEO of Twitter, before the fake account has been blocked.
At that time, Mr. Dorsey welcomed the report and bragged, “We have the best writers in the world here.”