Musk delays relaunch of Twitter’s beleaguered paid service

Tesla CEO says he is postponing restart of the subscription service by two weeks to make sure it is “rock solid”.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk has delayed the relaunch of his paid subscription service for Twitter [File: Hannibal Hanschke/Pool via AP]

Elon Musk has delayed the relaunch of his paid subscription service for Twitter after the billionaire’s overhaul of the platform’s verification policies led to an explosion in impostor accounts.

The Tesla CEO, who has radically shaken up Twitter since buying the platform for $44bn last month, said he would postpone the launch by two weeks to make sure it is “rock solid”.

“Punting relaunch of Blue Verified to November 29th to make sure that it is rock solid,” Musk tweeted on Tuesday.

The move comes after Musk’s earlier decision to offer Twitter’s blue checkmark to any user for $7.99 a month led to a flood of impersonator accounts, including fake profiles of former United States President Donald Trump and NBA star LeBron James.

Twitter last week suspended the new subscription service and applied grey “official” badges to profiles of public figures and major companies in an effort to clear up confusion and misinformation on the platform.

Musk tweeted on Tuesday that under the relaunched subscription service, “changing your verified name will cause loss of checkmark until name is confirmed by Twitter to meet Terms of Service”.

Twitter’s original verification system offered a checkmark free of charge to authenticated famous users and accounts considered to be of public interest.

Musk criticised the previous checkmark policy, introduced to prevent accounts from impersonating public figures, as a “lords and peasants system”.

The latest plans for Twitter come after weeks of chaotic upheaval at the social media giant, marked by mass layoffs, high-profile resignations and fleeing advertisers.

Large companies, including General Motors, Audi, General Mills and United Airlines, have pulled or suspended advertising on Twitter amid concerns about the future of the platform under Musk.

Speaking at a G20 business forum on Monday, Musk said he has had “too much work on my plate” since taking over Twitter and he doubted that most people would want to be him.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies