Twitter launches a $ 8 monthly subscription with a blue check

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Twitter on Saturday launched a subscription service for $ 7.99 per month that includes a blue check mark now assigned to verified accounts as new owner Elon Musk overhauls the platform’s verification system just before the US midterm election .

In an update for Apple iOS devices, Twitter said users who “register now” can receive the blue check mark next to their names “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.” So far, verified accounts don’t seem to be losing checks.

Anyone who gets the blue check could create confusion and increase misinformation ahead of Tuesday’s elections, if possible the imposters pay the season ticket and use the names of politicians and election officials. Along with the widespread layoffs that began on Friday, many fear that the social platform used by public agencies, election councils, police departments and news outlets to reliably keep people informed may become illegal if content moderation and verification is chipped. .

The change represents the end of Twitter’s current verification system, which was launched in 2009 to prevent the portrayal of high-profile accounts such as celebrities and politicians. Prior to the review, Twitter had approximately 423,000 verified accounts, many of them grassroots reporters from around the world that the company verified regardless of how many followers it had.

Do you want a blue tick on Twitter? It could soon cost you $ 19.99 a month

Experts raised serious concerns about the overthrow of the platform’s verification system which, while not perfect, helped Twitter’s 238 million daily users determine if the accounts they were receiving information from were genuine.

The update that Twitter made to the iOS version of its app doesn’t mention verification as part of the new blue tick system.

Musk, who previously said he wanted to “verify all humans” on Twitter, said public figures would be identified in ways other than the blue tick. Currently, for example, government officials are identified with text underneath the names stating they are posting from an official government account.

President Joe Biden’s @POTUS account, for example, says in gray letters that it belongs to a “United States government official.”

The change comes the day after the company began firing workers to cut costs and as more companies are shutting down Twitter advertising as a prudent corporate world waits to see how it will operate under its new owner.

About half of the company’s 7,500 employees have been fired, tweeted Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security and integrity.

He said the company’s frontline content moderation staff was the group least affected by the job cuts and that “efforts for electoral integrity, including harmful disinformation that can suppress voting and fight state-backed intelligence operations remain a top priority. “

Widespread Twitter layoffs begin a week after Musk’s acquisition

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey took the blame for the extensive job loss on Saturday. He has had two nominations as Twitter CEO, with the latest running from 2015 to 2021.

“I have a responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I have grown the size of the company too quickly,” he tweeted. “I apologize for this.”

Musk tweeted on Friday that there was no choice but to cut jobs “when the company is losing over $ 4 million a day.” He did not give details of the daily losses at the company and said that employees who lost their jobs were offered three months’ salary as severance pay.

Meanwhile, Twitter has already seen “a huge drop in revenue” due to pressure from activist groups on advertisers to leave the platform, Musk tweeted on Friday. This hits Twitter hard due to its heavy reliance so far on advertising to make money. During the first six months of this year, nearly $ 92 out of every $ 100 cashed came from advertising.

United Airlines became the latest major brand to stop advertising on Twitter. Chicago-based United confirmed Saturday that they had made the move, but declined to discuss the reasons or what they would have to see to resume advertising on the platform.

He has joined the growing list of large companies that pause ads on Twitter, including General Motors, REI, General Mills, and Audi.

Musk tried to reassure advertisers last week that Twitter would not become a “free hell landscape for all” because of what he calls his commitment to free speech.

But doubts remain that a lighter touch on content moderation on Twitter will lead users to send more offensive tweets. This could damage companies’ brands if their ads are displayed next to them.

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Stan Choe, AP business writer, contributed from New York.

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