- by theguardian
- 21 Sep 2023
Twenty-four hours after blue checkmarks began to disappear from formerly verified Twitter accounts, chaos reigned on the website, with impersonation and false information running rampant and few people signing up for the service the changes were meant to promote.
Under the original blue-check system, Twitter had roughly 400,000 verified usersand checks meant that Twitter had verified that users were who they said they were.
Under the new Twitter Blue program, individual users can pay $8 per month for a blue checkmark while organizations pay upwards of $1,000 monthly. The change has shifted the meaning of the check from an account that has been independently verified to one that paid a premium to help their tweets be seen by more people.
Many took advantage of the new verification-free world on Twitter by changing their profile pictures and names to impersonate prominent figures, from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to the late Arizona Senator, John McCain. Others made prank tweets posing as legitimate news accounts to spread misinformation making fun of Musk.
The ability to pose as legitimate organizations and figures raised concerns that Twitter could lose its status as a platform for getting accurate, up-to-date information from authentic sources, including in emergencies.
Many impacted agencies said they were awaiting more clarity from Twitter, which has sharply curtailed its staff since Musk bought the San Francisco company for $44bn last year.
Twitter has seemingly yet to greatly benefit from the massive change in policy, with various calculations of its Twitter Blue subscribers showing any additional sign-ups under the new rules have been inconsequential.
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