Jeff Chiu / AP
Twitter began advertising the launch of a paid subscription service in Apple’s app store on Saturday, after new owner Elon Musk promised to overhaul the social media platform’s verification system. .
The free one-time blue checkmark offered to verified accounts on Twitter will soon be available to any Twitter Blue user paying $7.99 per month. The new model is raising warnings about the system’s possible consequences for misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Since 2009, blue-checked accounts have been distributed to users through a verification process as a way to separate authentic accounts from impostors.
An update to the Twitter app on iOS devices says users who sign up now can get a blue check mark “just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you’ve followed. ”
Despite the name of the new Twitter Blue feature, Twitter doesn’t specify any requirements needed to verify a user’s authenticity beyond the monthly fee.
It’s unclear when premium users will receive a new check mark next to their name, or when a verified account without a paid subscription is set up to lose verification.
“The new Blue isn’t out yet – our launch sprint continues but some people may see us updated as we’re testing and pushing the changes in real time” a product team manager at the company tweeted.
She added, Android phones are the next line of phones to roll out the subscription without specifying a time.
Meanwhile, Musk’s commitment to promoting a version of free speech on the platform has cost the company’s advertising revenue. The billionaire recently swore to advertisers that Twitter won’t turn into a “free-for-all hell scene”.
Musk explained his reasoning for the verification improvement in a tweet on Saturday.
“Too many legacy ‘verified’ checkmarks are introduced, often arbitrarily, so that in practice they are not verified,” he writes. “You can buy as much as you want right now with a Google search. Piggybacking on the Apple/Android plus payment system is a much better way to ensure verification.”
Major tech watchdog groups say changing verification standards closer to election day could be confusing or dangerous. There is still fear that looser content moderation rules could spark the kind of hate rhetoric on the leading platform. violence in the real world.