The check mark gave it a semblance of legitimacy, but a popular Twitter account associated with Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men,” that went from being verified to not is a fake, his agent said on Monday.
The account, @CormacMcCrthy, had gained more than 49,000 followers since it was created in September 2018 by someone pretending to be Mr. McCarthy, a storyteller with a reputed aversion to computers.
The voice on Twitter was an unfamiliar one for fans of Mr. McCarthy’s prose, which is known for intense and at-times sadistic narratives that often pit good versus evil.
The tweets mused about things like kombucha, TikTok and Disney+, eliciting tens of thousands of retweets and likes with their droll and curmudgeonly tone.
The tone was out of character for Mr. McCarthy, whose books are often framed by the topic of death and gritty imagery, from venomous rattlesnakes in the Mojave Desert to a psychopathic killer whose primary means of execution is a bolt gun used to slaughter cattle.
When writing about a posse of mercenaries sitting around a fire in the southwest in “Blood Meridian,” he set the scene:
“The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them and they watched the fire which does contain within it something of men themselves inasmuch as they are less without it and are divided from their origins and are exiles,” he wrote.
Posting on Twitter, though, appeared to be a chore for the person pretending to be Mr. McCarthy.
Stephen King indulged in some banter with the author of the tweets, who cast Mr. McCarthy, 88, as a social media neophyte seeking to please a frequently mentioned publicist named Terry.
“My publicist is on my case about my infrequent use of this infernal website,” the person wrote on Friday, drawing widespread attention to the account. “He says engagement is down and so are metrics and something something who cares There I wrote a tweet Are you happy now Terry.”
Mr. King signaled his approval two days later. “I don’t know if Terry is, but I am,” he wrote.
Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Mr. McCarthy’s publisher, said on Monday that the account was a fake.
“We are in the process of alerting our colleagues at Twitter,” he said. “Clearly, their verification process is not bulletproof.”
Amanda Urban, Mr. McCarthy’s agent, added, “This is definitely not Cormac.”
A representative for Twitter said on Monday that “the account referenced was verified by mistake and that has since been reversed.”
By Monday afternoon, the white check mark in a blue badge — the designation for verified accounts used by celebrities, writers, politicians and journalists — had been removed.
It was not clear how long the account had been verified. Twitter did not answer questions about how the mistake happened. Going forward, the company said, it would require the account to comply with its policy that parody or fan accounts have labels.
Twitter itself once selected the accounts of famous people to be verified. The check marks have become somewhat of a status symbol on the social media platform and are intended to distinguish celebrities from impersonators. Now, users can apply to have their accounts verified.
This was not the first fuss over Mr. McCarthy’s social media footprint — or lack thereof.
In 2012, The Atlantic reported that an unpublished author from Scotland had impersonated Mr. McCarthy on Twitter, drawing the attention of the novelist Margaret Atwood and Jack Dorsey, the founder and current chief executive of Twitter, before the fake account was suspended.
At the time, Mr. Dorsey welcomed the account and boasted, “We have the best authors in the world right here.”