Musk: Legacy Twitter checkmarks to be removed in ‘a few months’

Tech

FILE – Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(NEXSTAR) — Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday that he’s delaying Twitter Blue, the company’s new premium service which comes with blue-check “verification” for $8 a month, until November 29 “to make sure it is rock solid.”

Verified Twitter users who assumed their blue checkmarks wouldn’t be going anywhere will have to pay for them like everyone else, Elon Musk added.

“All unpaid legacy Blue checkmarks will be removed in a few months,” Musk tweeted.

Twitter Blue was unavailable Friday after the social media platform was flooded by a wave of imposter accounts it itself had approved.

It’s the latest whiplash-inducing change to the service where uncertainty has become the norm since billionaire Elon Musk took control two weeks ago. Prior to that, the blue check was granted to government entities, corporations, celebrities and journalists verified by the platform — precisely to prevent impersonation. Now, anyone can get one as long as they have a phone, a credit card and $8 a month.

An impostor account posing as pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. and registered under the revamped Twitter Blue system tweeted that insulin was free, forcing the Indianapolis company to post an apology. Nintendo, Lockheed Martin, and Musk’s own companies Tesla and SpaceX were also impersonated, as well as the accounts of various professional sports and political figures.

Adding to the confusion, Twitter now has two categories of “blue checks,” and they look identical. One includes the accounts verified before Musk took the helm. It notes: “This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category.” The other notes that the account subscribes to the service of Twitter Blue.

Twitter is heavily dependent on ads and about 90% of its revenue comes from advertisers. But each change that Musk is rolling out — or rolling back — makes the site less appealing for big brands.

“It has become chaos,” said Richard Levick, CEO of public relations firm Levick. “Who buys into chaos?”

Twitter is a small part of total ad spending for the biggest companies that advertise on the platform. Google, Amazon and Meta account for about 75% of digital ads globally, with all other platforms combined making up the other 25%. Twitter accounts for about 0.9% of global digital ad spending, according to Insider Intelligence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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