Elon Musk suspended the paid Twitter Blue subscription plan and stated that it would resume following the midterm elections.
The delay came a day after Twitter released an iOS version that lets users obtain the blue checkmark on their profiles through a monthly plan subscription. According to Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, the system prevents the proliferation of spam accounts on the system. However, even before Musk bought it, users had warned the company about the dangers of spam and bot accounts.
“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” said the CEO.
“Previously, we issued a warning before the suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. Any name change will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark,” Elon added.
However, after the option was supposed to go live, Elon shelved it due to the upcoming midterm elections. Aside from the polls, widespread public outrage prompted the company to reconsider the release of the new feature.
The product team manager at Twitter wrote, “The new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues, but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real time. The Twitter team is legendary. New Blue, coming soon!”
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Users trolled Elon
Many were outraged that they had to pay for a blue check mark and took to social media to express their displeasure with the feature. Ironically, celebrities with large followings illustrated this by changing their Twitter names and profile photos, as Elon did. For instance, comedian Sarah Silverman used Elon’s profile picture as her own on her verified Twitter account.
She tweeted, “I am a freedom of speech absolutist, and I eat doody for breakfast every day.”
Twitter suspended Silverman’s account following the stunt, causing her to switch back to her original name and photo. In a similar intention, actress Valerie Bertinelli shifted her account to look like Musk’s photo and name.
“The blue checkmark simply meant your identity was verified. So scammers would have a harder time impersonating you. That no longer applies. Good luck out there! [Y]ou can buy a blue check mark for $7.99 a month without verifying who you are,” she tweeted.
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Twitter tries to cut costs
Twitter is also dealing with another issue: the layoff of approximately half of its employees. According to Elon, Twitter intends to cut costs, claiming that the company wastes over $4 million per day. As a result, many believe that Elon’s monthly blue check subscription allows him to earn more money for the company. However, the CEO stated that the company added the verification feature for another reason.
“Far too many legacies ‘verified’ checkmarks were handed out, often arbitrarily, so in reality, they are not verified. With a Google search, you can buy as many as you want. Piggybacking off payment system plus Apple/Android is a much better way to ensure verification,” he said.
Photo Credit: Matt Rourke