As of Monday, December 12, Twitter is relaunching Twitter Blue and allowing users to pay for the blue verification tick. Since Elon Musk took over Twitter, the decision to open up verification to anyone willing to pay has been one of the most controversial decisions. The program was discontinued last month, but now the paid blue tick is reopening. This time, however, things are a little different, with iOS users getting a worse deal.
So what’s different this time? There’s a promise that accounts will be reviewed before a blue tick is given, but there’s no detail on what that entails beyond checking phone numbers. In addition to (probably) verification, those willing to pay for Twitter Blue will also have the ability to edit tweets, upload high-definition videos, and more, as the company explains in a series of tweets.
Twitter relaunched its Blue subscription on Monday, a month after abandoning a chaotic first attempt that spurred fake accounts and general mayhem.
Previously reserved for celebrities, journalists, government officials and other public figures, the blue check mark for verified accounts has long been the goal of many Twitter users. There was understandable excitement when it was announced that anyone could be verified simply by paying for a Twitter Blue subscription, but the concern many expressed that this would lead to an issue of impersonation and fake accounts turned out to be alright. Elon Musk’s team worked on the mechanism for
As previously mentioned, the subscription will cost $8 per month to buy online or $11 per month through the iOS App Store to offset the up to 30% commission Apple takes on in-app purchases. This time, anyone paying for Blue who wants to display a verified tick on their profile must first register a phone number, and changing your username, display name or profile picture will remove the tag until your account is re-registered.
In a thread on Twitter, the company says followers will get access to the blue profile tick, as well as a number of features, including the ability to edit tweets, upload 1080p videos and access player mode. The company lists having fewer ads as well as having search priorities as “coming soon” features.
Twitter also says it is replacing the official mark, which it introduced at the same time as its new Twitter Blue, which is open to everyone, with a gold tick for businesses and later this week a gray tick for businesses, public and multilateral accounts.
Esther Crawford, product manager at Twitter, said the company has added the requirement to verify the phone before users receive a blue tick to combat spoofing.
Elon Musk launched his version of Twitter Blue last month, but pulled the feature after two days when a wave of fake verified accounts flooded the platform. The rushed rollout has raised concerns among advertisers and officials, with Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) asking Musk to straighten up his business or Congress will, after the billionaire responded sarcastically to the senator’s concerns about the confirmed fake accounts on Twitter and suggested Markey’s genuine account *looks like a parody*.
Last month, Musk told Twitter employees that he would not relaunch Blue until the company was satisfied that “significant copycats did not occur.” In addition to requiring Blue subscribers to provide a verified phone number, Musk has previously said that accounts will be manually approved before the blue tick appears on their profiles.
Measures to help appease advertisers
Twitter Blue’s return was confirmed in an email sent to advertisers on Thursday, announcing new Twitter Blue security features and controls for advertisers. The email informed advertisers that individuals could purchase blue ticks, while verified businesses would be distinguished by gold ticks and public accounts by gray ticks.
The purpose of the email was partly to reassure advertisers that the Twitter Blue impersonation scandal was now a thing of the past, but also to announce new controls that allow advertisers to prevent branded ads from being misdirected. appear above or below tweets that contain specific keywords.
But advertisers may not be so easily persuaded to return to the platform. As Musk struggled to convince advertisers that Twitter is a safe place to run ads, three members of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council (including Eirliani Abdul Rahman, Anne Collier and Lesley Podesta) resigned. In their letter, they believe that, contrary to Elon Musk’s claims, the safety and well-being of Twitter users is “at risk.” They pointed to reported increases in hate speech, Musk’s reinstatement of banned accounts and dismissive content moderation staff as reasons to distance themselves from the platform.
A Twitter governed by diktat is no place for us, their letter says, while claiming that Musk has not recognized the council, which in 2019 included more than 40 experts and organizations since he took over.
Here is their full letter:
We are announcing our resignation from the Twitter Trust and Safety Council because research clearly shows that, contrary to Elon Musk’s claims, the safety and well-being of Twitter users is in decline. The question has been on our minds: Should Musk be allowed to set up digital security because he has free speech? Our answer is a resounding no.
Eirliani Abdul Rahman and Anne Collier have been members of Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council since its inception in 2016. Eirliani was Asia’s first female representative and served on the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Advisory Group. Anne has worked with social media platforms on youth digital safety for over 20 years and was part of the Twitter Council’s Online Safety and Harassment Prevention Group.
We know that even after thousands of employee resignations and layoffs, there are people working at Twitter who care about reducing hate speech and protecting users on the platform. We are deeply saddened by this decision because Twitter has been a place of joy in many ways*: our work with other board members, interaction with our professional networks, and support for public debate about our respective passions.
Despite the lack of recognition from Twitter’s new owner, we want to recognize the hard work that all members of its Trust and Safety Board have done over the past six years. The council’s creation represented Twitter’s commitment to moving away from a US-centric approach to user security, closer collaboration across regions, and the importance of having people deep in the security team. That last commitment is no longer obvious given Twitter’s recent declaration that it will rely more on automated content moderation. Algorithmic systems cannot go further to protect users from ever-evolving abuse and hate speech until detectable patterns develop.
Anne: Having followed research into online risks for young people since 1999, I know how difficult it is for platforms to get it right while respecting young users’ rights to protection, participation and privacy. But there has been some progress in the industry. Tragically, research shows that Twitter is moving in the opposite direction, and I can no longer find reason to remain in tacit support for what Twitter has become.
Eirliani: I followed, dare I say, trepidation, the negotiations for Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. I had written a few commitments to myself at the time. If Musk crossed those thresholds, I thought I would quit. These red lines have been crossed. We know from research by the Anti-Defamation League and the Center for Countering Digital Hate that slurs against black Americans and gay people have increased by 195% and 58%, respectively, since Musk took over. Anti-Semitic posts increased by more than 61% in the two weeks since Musk bought Twitter. Another red line for me was when previously banned accounts, such as those on the far right, and those that had incited others to violence, such as US President Donald Trump’s, were reinstated.
We fear a two-part Twitter: one for those who can pay and reap the benefits, and another for those who cannot. This, we fear, will remove the credibility of the system and the beauty of Twitter, the platform where everyone can be heard, regardless of the number of followers.
We therefore cannot in good conscience remain on Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council for the above reasons. A Twitter governed by dictation is no place for us. Content moderation is a nuanced activity that requires full transparency, adherence to clear policies through best practices, and guidance from trusted on-site partners and dedicated resources. This is in no way a rejection of our friends who remain on the council. They choose to do so for their own reasons, including continued security and the hope that sanity will prevail.
Twitter’s new head of trust and safety under scrutiny
Twitter’s new head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, has contradicted reports that the staff cuts have affected Twitter’s child safety team. She also confirmed that Twitter would rely more on automatic content removal.
Irwin has been active on Twitter recently, responding to tweets from concerned Twitter users. She was also drawn into the Twitter Files discourse when Twitter users noticed that screenshots from Twitter’s internal tool shared in journalist Bari Weiss’ secret blacklist thread were watermarked with Irwin’s information. .
Twitter users were alarmed, with some concerned that Weiss potentially accessed the internal tool through the Irwin login and possibly had access to read direct messages. Some have suggested it would violate the Stored Communications Act. Did Elon just give Bari Weiss and Abigail Shrier access to everyone’s private messages? It would be a clear violation of the Stored Communications Act if he shared it with her. Not to mention that potentially giving the most transphobic “journalists” access to trans people’s communications is dangerous.
But Berkeley law professor Orin Kerr pointed out that even if Weiss had access, it could be considered an exception since his access was authorized by the person or entity providing a cable or electronic communications service.
do you agree that iOS users are encouraged to pay more to make up for the 30% commission charged by Apple?
What do you think of Twitter Blue’s new mechanisms to prevent identity theft?
Is it likely that they will reassure advertisers, in addition to the new features offered to them to control where do not leave their ads?
What do you think of the fears expressed by the outgoing members of Twitter’s security council?