Twitter announces blue check subscription service for $7.99 monthly fee
Twitter announced a subscription service starting at $7 99 a month that includes a blue check now given only to verified accounts as new owner Elon Musk works to overhaul the platform’s verification system just ahead of U.S. midterm elections. In an update to Apple iOS devices in the U.S. and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K., Twitter announced that users who “sign-up now” for the new “Twitter Blue” with verification can get the blue check next their names “just as celebrities, companies, and politicians you follow.”
Esther Crawford, a Twitter employee, tweeted Saturday that the “new Blue” wasn’t yet live. However, the sprint to our launch is continuing but some people may see us making updates as we test and push changes in real time.
Verified account did not seem to be losing their checks yet.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the subscription would be available. Crawford said in a tweet that the subscription is coming soon, but it has not launched yet. Twitter did not immediately respond when we requested comment.
Anyone could be able to get a blue check. This could lead to confusion ahead of Tuesday’s election. Musk tweeted Saturday to answer a question about the possibility of impostors posing as verified profiles, such as politicians, that “Twitter would suspend the account attempting to impersonate and keep the money!” So if scammers want this a million more times, that’s just one lot of free money.” he said.
But many fear widespread layoffs that began Friday could gut the guardrails of content moderation and verification on the social platform that public agencies, election boards, police departments and news outlets use to keep people reliably informed.
The change will end Twitter’s current verification system, which was launched in 2009 to prevent impersonations of high-profile accounts such as celebrities and politicians. Twitter now has about 423,000 verified accounts, many of them rank-and-file journalists from around the globe that the company verified regardless of how many followers they had.
Experts have raised grave concerns about upending the platform’s verification system that, while not perfect, has helped Twitter’s 238 million daily users determine whether accounts they get information from are authentic. Celebrities, athletes, and influencers are among the verified accounts.
“He understands the blue check’s value and is trying to exploit it fast,” said Jennifer Grygiel a social media expert and associate Professor of Communications at Syracuse University. He must earn the trust of his customers before he can sell them anything. You wouldn’t buy a car from someone you don’t trust.
The update Twitter made to its iOS app does not mention verification. The update is currently not available for Android devices.
Musk had previously stated that he wants to “verify every human” on Twitter. He suggested that public figures could be identified using other methods than the blue check. For example, government officials are currently identified by text under their names, stating that they are posting from a government account.
President Joe Biden’s @POTUS account, for example, says in gray letters it belongs to a “United States government official.” The announcement comes just days after Twitter started laying off employees to cut costs. More companies are putting off advertising on the platform, as a cautious corporate world awaits to see how the platform will function under the new owner.
About half of the company’s staff of 7,500 was let go, tweeted Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity.
He stated that the company’s content moderation staff was the least affected by the job cuts. He also said that efforts to ensure election integrity (including harmful misinformation that could suppress the vote) remain a top priority.
Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey took blame for the job losses.
“I take responsibility for this situation. I grew the company too quickly,” he tweeted Saturday. “I am sorry for that.”
United Airlines on Saturday became the latest major brand to pause advertising on Twitter, joining companies including General Motors, REI, General Mills and Audi.
U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Volker Turk urged Musk on Saturday to “ensure that human rights are central in the management of Twitter.” Turk wrote an open letter stating that reports that the company had laid off its entire human rights team as well as a large portion of its ethical AI team was not “an encouraging beginning.”
“Twitter, like all companies, needs to be aware of the dangers associated with its platform and take steps towards addressing them,” Turk stated. Respect for our shared human rights should be the foundation for the platform’s evolution and use. “
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.