Musk Delays Relaunch Of Twitter Blue Until There Is ‘High Confidence’ On Stopping Impersonators

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Topline

Elon Musk on Monday said Twitter delay the planned relaunch of its Twitter Blue subscription service—which allows users to pay $8 a month for a verified badge—until there is “high confidence” in stopping impersonator accounts, a serious issue which marred the initial rollout of the service and triggered chaos on the platform.

Key Facts

Announcing the move in a tweet, Musk said Twitter may use different color checkmarks for organizations and individuals.

Last week, Musk had set November 29 as the date for Twitter Blue’s relaunch saying he wanted to make sure the service was “rock solid.”

According to the Verge, Musk informed Twitter employees about the delay before the public announcement telling them “we’re not going to launch until there’s high confidence in protecting against…significant impersonations.”

After announcing the delay Musk once again bragged about Twitter’s recent growth in daily active users, claiming the number had grown by 1.6 million in the past week to a total of 259.6 million.

What We Don’t Know

Musk’s idea to use different colored verification badges for individuals and organizations on Twitter may help alleviate some of its issues with regards to impersonators but it is unclear how this will exactly work. Musk also doesn’t specify if the alternate color badges will only be available to organizations who are already verified on Twitter or will it also be extended to those who chose to pay $8 a month to acquire a verification badge. Unlike the original Twitter verification service, Twitter Blue does not authenticate an individual or organization’s identity before giving them the verified badge. Twitter currently uses a badge with a blue checkmark on all verified accounts—both for individuals and organizations. The platform recently also added a gray “official” badge under some important verified accounts in an effort to deal with impersonators.

Key Background

After taking over Twitter, Musk announced the launch of a revamped Twitter Blue which would allow any Twitter user to gain a blue verified badge by paying an $8 monthly fee. The service was rapidly rolled out earlier this month, despite Musk being warned by Twitter’s trust and safety team that this would lead to “verified” impersonators sowing chaos on the platform and pose a serious brand risk for the company. As predicted, the launch was followed by a flurry of new “verified” users impersonating public figures and companies. As Twitter tried to ban these impersonators, Musk took to the platform to issue new diktats on parody accounts. Several “verified” accounts impersonating major brands including Lockheed Martin, Pepsi, Chiquita, American Girl, BP and Nintendo continued to pop up, triggering confusion on the platform. The most high profile of these incidents involved a paid verified account with the handle @EliLillyandCo which tweeted “we are excited to announce insulin is free now.” The fake tweet remained online for hours, prompting drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co to issue a statement from their official handle @Lillypad saying: “We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account.” This led to advertisers labeling Twitter as a “brand risk” prompting many companies to halt spending and engagement on the platform. Just days after the subscription service launched Twitter was forced to pause its rollout and disable new signups.

Further Reading

Twitter won’t restart paid verification until ‘significant impersonations’ stop, Elon Musk says (The Verge)

Twitter Blue: Signups For Paid Verification Appear Suspended After Impersonator Chaos (Forbes)

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