Twitter panics over new account authentication system
On Wednesday, November 9, the Twitter platform implemented an “Official” badge for government accounts in such a cacophony that the long-awaited arrival of the new Twitter Blue, the paid subscription to authenticate one’s account, went almost unnoticed.
The new account with Twitter Blue allows users who wish to do so, for 8 USD per month, to obtain the famous blue tick, a guarantee of authenticity that was previously free but reserved for governments and media personalities.
In fact, it is the subscription that has been thoroughly revised, it is available in the mobile application, on iPhones and in the United States. At the same time, Twitter has just as discreetly launched the “Official” badge. But Elon Musk, the boss and owner of the social network for less than two weeks, tweeted Wednesday morning, November 9, that he had “removed” it. “The blue check mark will put everyone on the same level,” added the multi-billionaire.
Shortly thereafter, however, the director of product development Esther Crawford assured that the “Official” badge would indeed be “activated.” “We’re just starting with governments and commercial organizations. What (Elon Musk) mentioned was the fact that we are not giving the +Official+ badge to individuals at this time,” she said.
There are accounts like that of the American elected official Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pope Francis in English or even the controversial rapper Kanye West had received the badge “Official” before it disappeared.
Elon Musk fired half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees on Friday, November 4, ten days after he bought the social network and launched manu militari several projects, including the redesign of the paid subscription. Since then, communication about the evolution of the influential platform has occurred mainly via his tweets and some managers’ tweets.
“Please note that Twitter will be doing a lot of silly things in the coming months. We will keep what works and change what doesn’t,” said the whimsical Tesla and SpaceX boss. “There are no more sacred cows in Twitter’s products,” Esther Crawford echoed the CEO’s message.
“Elon wants to try a lot of things – some will fail, some will succeed. The goal is to find the right mix of changes to ensure the long-term health and growth of the company,” she continued. The gray “Official” badge is meant to distinguish official organization accounts from those of Twitter Blue subscribers, who will have a blue checkmark and convenient benefits.
This will help combat fake profiles and automated accounts, as malicious actors will have to spend eight dollars each time, and have as many credit cards as accounts they want to create.
On Wednesday, several accounts posing as celebrities popped up on the network, including a fake LeBron James, superstar basketball player of the Lakers team. The impostor with his blue check mark had time to request a transfer to another team before the account was deleted.
Elon Musk detailed his vision for the “digital public square” on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at a public online conference for advertisers. The world’s richest man would like to have “80% of humanity” on Twitter, interacting “in a more positive way.”
He spoke of “a vigorous pursuit of truth,” saying that “anything that is not true, interesting or entertaining” would be “stopped or at least pushed to the back burner.” “Messages from verified accounts will be displayed by default,” he said, while tweets from people who have not paid for Twitter Blue will be treated as “spam” on a mailbox.
The comparison is likely to make ironic the many critics of the multi-billionaire, who says he wants to “give more power to the people” and abolish “the current system of lords and peasants, between those who have the blue tick and those who don’t”.
Elon Musk also hopes to diversify the platform’s revenue streams, as several advertisers have temporarily withdrawn from Twitter, waiting to see how content moderation, crucial for their brands, evolves.
The pace of evolution of the platform will be “without comparison with the past”, the boss stressed. Wednesday evening, November 9, his account still had the old blue mark, awarded for free for its “notoriety”. On the accounts of subscribers to the new formula, the badge is identical but it now indicates a “verified” account because it is “subscribed to Twitter Blue”.
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