More news coming out of Twitter today just a day after the company rolled out its revamped version of “Blue” – its premium subscription package – as Elon Musk announced that legacy verified accounts will have their blue checkmarks removed over the coming months.
In a few months, we will remove all legacy blue checks. The way in which they were given out was corrupt and nonsensical.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 12, 2022
In response to a tweet published by Michael Solana, the Vice President of the venture capital firm the Founders Fund, Musk asserted that the way these checkmarks were handed out in the past was “corrupt and nonsensical” and confirmed that the company is planning to remove them shortly.
The announcement comes only a day after Twitter rolled out the new version of Blue and made a controversial pricing decision as iOS users will be charged $2 more than Android users, possibly to cover the cost of the 30% commission charged by Apple for all in-app purchases.
The Verification Process Has Been Democratized via Twitter Blue
Before Musk acquired Twitter, the process of verifying a person’s account was hardly transparent as Twitter hand-picked individuals who were considered to have a notable presence on the social media platform.
Users were also able to send a request to be verified but they would only get the blue checkmark if they passed this initial requirement.
Things have changed after Musk’s arrival as now anyone who signs up for a Twitter Blue account has the chance to be verified while corporate and institutional accounts have been given a label that says “Official” to protect them from being impersonated.
This is the second attempt of Musk’s Twitter to democratize the verification process. The first time, the results were not positive as some users took advantage of the service to impersonate the accounts of prominent companies such as Eli Lilly and PepsiCo to mislead the community.
Twitter was forced to rethink how verifications should work and came up with a few rules. Moving forward, Blue accounts will be verified by the company before the blue checkmark is handed over to make sure they comply with the site’s rules.
Users who decide to change their Twitter handles, profile picture, or display name will have to go through this review process again. Moreover, corporate accounts will receive a golden checkmark while institutions and government accounts will be given a grey checkmark to differentiate them from regular Blue users.
Twitter Needs Subscription Revenues as Ad Income Dries Up
Twitter’s emphasis on subscriptions is part of a strategy being pursued by Musk to reduce the platform’s dependence on advertising revenues. In addition, the company must find a way to make up for all the revenues it has lost as a result of the takeover as a large number of advertisers have abstained from publishing campaigns to avoid being dragged into Musk’s whirlwind of controversial actions.
The most pressing aspect of Twitter’s takeover is the large amount of debt that Musk had to take to complete the deal – approximately $6 billion. This kind of debt would put a large burden on the company and has prompted the founder of Tesla (TSLA) to quickly reduce the firm’s overhead.
Musk has aimed to achieve this by laying off roughly half of Twitter’s staff – although he was forced to bring some people back – along with thousands of independent contractors, many of which worked as content moderators.
The new boss of the social media company has commented that the platform’s user base has been growing rapidly since he took over. However, some reports indicate that users are looking for a replacement for the micro-blogging site already.
In this regard, Mastodon, a Twitter-like service, has been attracting hundreds of thousands of new users who are apparently looking for an alternative in case Musk’s platform turns into a wasteland.
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