Twitter's $8 'blue check' rollout delayed indefinitely by Elon Musk once again
Twitter's new owner and CEO, Elon Musk, has now delayed the launch of the Twitter Blue subscription service once again till the company can find a way to stop impersonators on the platform, The Verge reported.
Soon after taking over the social media site, Musk unveiled his plan to launch an "improved" subscription service that also gave subscribers get to be "verified" on the platform. Denoted by a blue tick next to their profile, this was a coveted status in the pre-Musk era of Twitter and was given only to famous personalities, media outlets, companies, brands, or institutions.
The new CEO saw a monetization opportunity in this that could help him fill in the revenue blanks that had started appearing since he took over. Advertisers have deserted the platform following uncertainty over Twitter's policies and how it will handle hate speech when Musk insists on being a free speech absolutist.
Musk's Flip Flop on Twitter Blue
As Interesting Engineering had reported earlier, Musk was looking to earn as much as $20 per user per month from this service. However, he settled on an $8 fee soon after. Musk, who had given concerned Twitter staff a week to roll out this feature or be fired, first had to delay the launch due to mid-term elections in the U.S.
However, when the service was eventually launched, it opened a can of worms as impersonators flooded the platform overnight and created spoof tweets posing as defense suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, and even Musk himself.
Free speech absolutist! pic.twitter.com/GzC32xREs9— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) November 4, 2022
Musk and colleagues at Twitter tried to add another layer of verification by adding a gray tick that only governments, companies, and entities of eminence could receive, but this had to be rolled back too. As of now, vestiges of the gray tick remain on the platform, while Twitter Blue was withdrawn, and efforts were made to remove impersonators.
Last week, Musk said that the service would be brought back on November 29, but a recent tweet confirms that the decision has been further delayed.
Holding off relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2022
Will probably use different color check for organizations than individuals.
What can Twitter's limited staff do?
Since the take over, Musk has been vocal about introducing multiple changes to Twitter to see what works and what does not. Twitter Blue is no exception, although it does promise more revenues for a company that is currently starving.
In the meantime, Musk has reduced the Twitter staff strength by half, and hundreds more left the company after the new CEO wanted them to commit to long hours at high intensity.
In such a scenario, where many teams are without enough members or a clear chain of command, it remains to be seen how Twitter will cope with new rollouts. The failure of Twitter blue check so far shows that it has not been tested enough within the company, and with the remaining skeletal staff, it might be even more difficult to do so now.
We recently saw Twitter's copyright strike system flailing, and energies might be currently spent on holding the fort together than introducing new features that would add more uncertainties.
Will Elon Musk understand this? It is a different story.
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