Twitter has announced a $7.99 per month subscription service that includes a blue check that is now only given to verified accounts as new ownersis in the process of revising the platform’s verification system .
In an update for Apple iOS devices available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Twitter said users who sign up “now” for the new “Twitter Blue with verification” will see the blue tick next to can get their name. just like the celebrities, corporations and politicians you already follow.”
But Twitter contributor Esther Crawford tweeted on Saturday that “the new Blue isn’t live yet – the sprint to our launch is ongoing, but some people may see us making updates because we’re testing and driving changes in real time.” .”
Verified accounts have not appeared to lose their checks so far.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the subscription would go live. Crawford told The Associated Press in a Twitter message that it was “soon but not yet launched.” Twitter did not immediately respond to a message asking for comment.
Anyone able to get the blue check could cause confusion and a rise in disinformation ahead of Tuesday’s election, but Musk responded to a question on Saturday about the risk of scammers posing as verified profiles – like politicians and election officials – that “Twitter will suspend account if impersonation is attempted and keep the money!”
“So if scammers want to do that a million times over, that’s just a whole lot of free money,” he said.
But many fear mass layoffscould undermine the guard rails of content moderation and review on the social platform that government agencies, election boards, police departments and news outlets use to keep people informed.
The change will end Twitter’s current verification system, which was introduced in 2009 to prevent impersonation of high-profile accounts such as celebrities and politicians. Twitter now has about 423,000 verified accounts, many of them simple journalists from around the world who the company has verified, regardless of how many followers they had.
Experts have raised serious concerns about reversing the platform’s verification system, which, while not perfect, has helped Twitter’s 238 million daily users determine whether accounts they receive information from are authentic. Current verified accounts include celebrities, athletes and influencers, as well as government agencies and politicians worldwide, journalists and news outlets, activists, corporations and brands, and Musk himself.
“He knows the blue check is valuable, and he’s quick to try and take advantage of it,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a social media expert and associate professor of communications at Syracuse University. “He has to gain people’s trust before he can sell them anything. Why would you buy a car from a seller that you know has proven to be essentially messy?”
The update Twitter made to the iOS version of its app makes no mention of verification as part of the new Blue Check system. So far, the update is not available on Android devices.
Musk, who previously said on Twitter that he wants to “verify all people,” has vowed that public figures would be identified by means other than the blue tick. For example, government officials are currently identified with text under their names that says they are posting from an official government account.
For example, President Joe Biden’s @POTUS account says in gray letters that it belongs to a “United States government official.”
The announcement comes a day after Twitter began laying off employees to cut costs and as more companies pause advertising on the platform, while a cautious corporate world waits and sees how the platform will fare under its new owner.
About half of the company’s 7,500 employees have been laid off, Yoel Roth, head of security and integrity at Twitter, tweeted.
He said the company’s frontline content moderation staff are the group least affected by the job cuts and that “efforts to protect the integrity of the election — including harmful misinformation that can stifle voting, and countering state-backed information operations – remain a top priority”.
Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.
“I am responsible for why everyone is in this situation: I increased the company size too quickly,” he tweeted on Saturday. “I apologize for that.”
United Airlines became that on Saturdayon Twitter and joins companies like General Motors, REI, General Mills and Audi.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, urged Musk on Saturday to “ensure that human rights are at the heart of Twitter management.” In an open letter, Türk said reports that the company’s entire human rights team and much of its AI ethical team were fired were not an “encouraging start”.
“Like all companies, Twitter needs to understand the harms associated with its platform and take steps to address them,” Turk said. “Respect for our common human rights should set the guidelines for the use and further development of the platform.”