Elon Musk formalized the purchase of Twitter on October 27. During his first 2 weeks at the helm of the company, the social network has turned into chaos. The tycoon has been launching a series of clues on his profile about the possible changes that will come to the platform in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, on some occasions Musk has ended up retracting after a few hours, and that has resulted in functions that appear and disappear within the platform. For example, the label with the word “official” that it placed on some verified accounts.
We review in this article what are the measures that Musk has proposed and what we know about them so far. We also remember that these are very changeable and sometimes only last for hours, so this piece will be updated based on new announcements.
Payment for verification and Twitter Blue
Just days after his arrival on Twitter, Musk announced that intended to charge verified users on the social network. People with the famous check blue next to your name (indicating that it is a genuine account of public interest, such as profiles of politicians or the media) they would have to pay, in principle, a monthly fee of US$ 8, which would be adapted to the purchasing power of each country. This is a new function Twitter Bluea premium subscription service that allows, for example, undo tweets, have custom navigation or create different folders to save items. Until November 11, it is only available in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
This change in the verification system could cause problems when it comes to fighting misinformation on the platform: the initiative could make it difficult for users to differentiate real profiles from those who impersonate them. As of November 11, Twitter included in its policies the requirements to obtain the verification label. Among them, that some type of identification document or a work sample can be delivered that supports that our position is real. When it goes live, it will be part of a premium service of the platform and We do not yet know what verification mechanisms will be used to prevent cases of identity theft.
Actually, even with the system released, it only took a few days for several users to get the blue badge (which until now has been associated with the official accounts) and they will dedicate themselves to supplanting the identity of official profiles.
An example of the impact of misinformation through a fake account is that of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, who suffered a crash on wall street of more than 4% after an account with the blue badge claimed that this firm’s insulin was becoming free. From the company, in addition to apologizing on its official profile for the fake account messagethey decided freeze twitter ad campaignsaccording to The Washington Post.
Musk wanted to launch this feature on November 7, but ended up delaying it to the 9th of the same month, as The New York Times learned.
However, on November 11 The Guardian published that Twitter Blue’s verification service was not availablewhile Platformer’s editor-in-chief, Zöe Schiffer, explained that day in a thread that the company had “suspended the launch” of the service through a post on Slack that said it was looking to “help address phishing issues.” On this point, neither Musk nor Twitter made any announcement on their official accounts over the weekend, but the tycoon did respond on November 13 to a question asked by a user about when Twitter Blue would return. “Probably by the end of this week,” Musk said, assuming the service was down.
Twitter launches the “official” label for some verified accounts, deletes it after hours and reactivates it without notice
Twitter announced on November 9 the launch of a new function that allows the identification of what it considers “high-profile accounts”, such as politicians, companies or the media. In them, in addition to the famous check blue, that tells us that they are verified, a label with the word “official” would appear just below.
It is a novelty that has worked for hours and that users have been able to see in different platform accounts. Nevertheless, Musk decided to remove it hours after going live.
On November 11, the feature went live again and can be seen on Twitter profiles, like this one from Prime Video Spain either in Nike’s. Also in sponsored tweets, such as the following examples of Uber Eats or Caixabank.
New Twitter Blue Features
Twitter Blue is a premium subscription service to the platform, which, right now, allows, for example, undo tweets, have custom navigation or create different folders to save items. From the company, they say, they are now working on new functions that could arrive soon.
subscribed users they will see fewer ads on the network than those who are not, according to what Musk himself said, although it is still unknown what the ratio of ads will be between subscribed accounts and those that do not pay for this service. They will also be able to post longer videos.
Another novelty would happen because those who are subscribed to Twitter Blue have more relevance on the platform: they would have priority in mentions, search or responses.
Longer tweets and content monetization
Elon Musk announced on his Twitter account that, very soon, the network will allow longer tweets to be published (until now they had 280 characters) to put an end to the “absurd screenshots” of the notepad. Also, published that it will also activate a function that allows creators to monetize all their content.
In addition, Musk would be considering putting up a paywall to be able to access Twitter content, according to technology journalist Casey Newton in Platformer. Namely, that users had to pay a monthly fee to be able to access all the content on the platform.
Freedom of expression, parodies and a content moderation council
Since before his arrival on Twitter, Elon Musk has defined himself as “an absolutist of freedom of expression”. The owner of Tesla has stated on several occasions that is committed to this topic and ensures that it will allow parody accounts -those that make fun of real users- as long as they specify it within the account: they will have to indicate it in their biography and also in the name (despite the fact that accounts that included the word “parody” in the profile name have already been suspended).
Since he took over the company, different users changed their name and photo to make their profile look like Musk’s in protest at his plan to pay $8 for the verification system. He suspended their account.
Before the complaints, Musk replied: “Accounts that impersonate an identity without clearly specifying that they are a parody will be permanently suspended.” Before, a warning was sent before the suspension, but “now that we are implementing widespread verification, there will be no warning.” In addition, he assured, any name change “will cause the temporary loss of the verification mark.”
Furthermore, as Musk explained, the social network would count with a content moderation board that includes different representatives “with very divergent points of view”, which will include, he has said, the civil rights community and groups facing hate-fueled violence. Important content decisions, he pointed out, will be made taking into account the opinions of this council, which will also rule on the reinstatement of accounts that have been suspended, like that of former US President Donald Trump.
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