SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter has introduced a subscription service for $7.99 a month that features a blue examine that’s now given solely to verified accounts as new proprietor Elon Musk works to overtake the platform’s verification system simply earlier than of the US midterm elections

In an replace to Apple iOS gadgets obtainable within the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Twitter stated that customers who “enroll now” for the brand new “Twitter Blue with verification” can obtain the blue examine subsequent to their names. identical to the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already observe.”

However Twitter worker Esther Crawford tweeted on Saturday that “the brand new Blue is not out but; the dash in direction of our launch continues, however some individuals may even see us making updates as a result of we’re testing and pushing adjustments in actual time.” The verified accounts didn’t seem like shedding their checks up to now.

It was not instantly clear when the subscription would launch. Crawford instructed The Related Press in a Twitter message that it is coming “quickly however hasn’t been launched but.” Twitter didn’t instantly reply to a message in search of remark.

Anybody who can get the blue examine may result in confusion and elevated misinformation forward of Tuesday’s election, however Musk tweeted Saturday in response to a query in regards to the threat of imposters posing as verified profiles, resembling politicians and officers. election, that “Twitter I’ll droop the account for tried phishing and maintain the cash!”

“So if scammers wish to do that one million occasions, that is only a bunch of free cash,” he stated.

However many concern the widespread layoffs that started Friday may destroy the guardrails of content material verification and moderation on the social platform that public businesses, election boards, police departments and media shops use to maintain individuals knowledgeable. .

The change will finish Twitter’s present verification system, which was launched in 2009 to stop impersonation of high-profile accounts resembling celebrities and politicians. Twitter now has round 423,000 verified accounts, a lot of them from bizarre journalists all over the world who the corporate verified no matter what number of followers that they had.

Specialists have raised severe considerations in regards to the platform’s tampering with the verification system, which, whereas not excellent, has helped Twitter’s 238 million every day customers decide whether or not the accounts they’re getting info from are genuine. Present verified accounts embrace celebrities, athletes and influencers, together with authorities businesses and politicians from all over the world, journalists and media shops, activists, corporations and types, and Musk himself.

“He is aware of the blue examine has worth and he is making an attempt to rapidly exploit it,” stated Jennifer Grygiel, a social media knowledgeable and affiliate professor of communications at Syracuse College. “He wants to realize individuals’s belief earlier than he can promote them something. Why would you purchase a automotive from a vendor you recognize has basically turned out to be chaotic?

Twitter’s replace to the iOS model of its app would not point out verification as a part of the brand new blue verification system. To date, the replace shouldn’t be obtainable on Android gadgets.

Musk, who beforehand stated he needs to “confirm each human” on Twitter, has stated that public figures could be recognized by one thing apart from the blue examine. At present, for instance, authorities officers are recognized by textual content under their names indicating that they’re posting from an official authorities account.

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

Seven-time Formulation One champion Lewis Hamilton, who has 7.8 million Twitter followers, instructed the AP: “I may simply delete my Twitter account, I by no means use it. I discover it very wholesome to take away social media from my cellphone for intervals of time.”

“But it surely’s additionally a extremely highly effective software for connecting with individuals, so I respect it and I attempt to use it as that and never as one thing that is pulling me off the trail that I am on in life,” she stated.

The announcement comes a day after Twitter started shedding staff to chop prices and as extra corporations are halting promoting on the platform as a cautious company world waits to see how the platform will carry out beneath its new proprietor.

About half of the corporate’s 7,500 workers had been laid off, tweeted Yoel Roth, Twitter’s chief safety and integrity officer.

He stated the corporate’s front-line content material moderation employees had been the group least affected by the job cuts and that “efforts for election integrity, together with damaging misinformation that may suppress the vote, and combating info operations supported by the state, stay a precedence.

Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey took the blame for the job losses.

“I’m chargeable for why everyone seems to be on this scenario: I elevated the scale of the corporate too rapidly,” he tweeted on Saturday. “I apologize for that”.

Musk tweeted late Friday that there was no selection however to chop jobs “when the corporate is shedding over $4 million a day.” He didn’t present particulars on the every day losses on Twitter, saying workers who misplaced their jobs had been supplied three months’ pay as severance pay.

He additionally stated that Twitter has already seen “a large drop in income” as advertisers face strain from activists to go away the platform, which depends closely on promoting to make cash.

United Airways on Saturday turned the newest main model to pause promoting on Twitter, becoming a member of the likes of Basic Motors, REI, Basic Mills and Audi.

Musk tried to reassure advertisers final week, saying Twitter wouldn’t flip into “everybody hell” due to what he calls its dedication to free speech.

However considerations stay about whether or not a lighter contact on content material moderation on Twitter will lead to customers sending extra offensive tweets. That would injury corporations’ manufacturers if their advertisements seem subsequent to them.

The United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, urged Musk on Saturday to “make sure that human rights are central to the administration of Twitter.” In an open letter, Türk stated reviews that the corporate’s whole human rights group and far of the AI ​​ethics group had been fired was “not an encouraging begin.”

“Like all corporations, Twitter wants to grasp the harms related to its platform and take steps to deal with them,” Türk stated. “Respect for our shared human rights ought to set the limitations for the use and evolution of the platform.”

In the meantime, Twitter cannot simply reduce prices to spice up income, and Musk wants to seek out methods to generate extra income, stated Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush. However that could be simpler stated than executed with the brand new Blue Verify subscription program.

“Customers have gotten this without spending a dime,” Ives stated. “There could also be a large pushback.”

He expects 20-25% of verified Twitter customers to enroll initially. The stakes are excessive for Musk and Twitter to get this executed early and for subscriptions to run easily, he added.

“You do not get a second probability to make a primary impression,” Ives stated. “It has been a practice wreck first week for Musk as proprietor of the Twitter platform. Now you have reduce 50% (of the workforce). There are questions in regards to the stability of the platform, and advertisers are watching this carefully.”


AP Enterprise author Stan Choe in New York and Related Press author Jenna Fryer in Charlotte, NC, contributed to this report.


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