Over the weekend, rumors have spread across USA media that “Chief Twit” Elon Musk is planning to strip Verified accounts of their status if they fail to pay a monthly fee.
They claim that Twitter Blue, a subscription service that unlocks additional features such as an “Undo Tweet” button, will be expanded to include Verified status, a feature that is presently free on the platform.
Ever since billionaire industrialist Elon Musk announced he was buying Twitter, rumors have proliferated about impending changes to the social media platform and the corporation that keeps it running.
Twitter Blue presently costs subscribers $4.99 per month, but under the reported plan, the price would increase to $19.99 per month, or $240 per year.
Verification is used to identify the accounts of public figures such as politicians, celebrities, and journalists, as well as institutions and corporations, as being the authentic accounts of those entities.
The feature was first implemented in 2009 in response to a lawsuit by Tony la Russa, then the manager of the Arizona Cardinals professional baseball team, over a fake account that was impersonating him.
Twitter paused verifying further accounts in 2017 after Twitter verified Jason Kessler, a self-described leader of the alt-right who planned the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which drew thousands of neo-Nazi’s, white supremacists, and fascists of other networks.
That rally resulted in widespread violence, including a car ramming attack into a crowd by an attendee that killed a counter-demonstrator. Verification was later revived in late 2021.
Musk has previously stated that as part of his effort to crack down on automated bot accounts on the site, he would authenticate all real humans, although it’s unclear what that would entail and how it might relate to Verified status.
That’s not the only rumor going around about Twitter right now, either. On Sunday, he clarified that no, the company isn’t planning to fire 75% of its staff in an effort to avoid paying out stock grants.
As part of the deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion, Musk bought back every single stock in the company, effectively returning it to being a private company.
Musk finalized that hostile take-over deal on Friday after months of disputes with Twitter over the various aspects of the deal, including information about bots on the platform.
A Delaware judge gave Musk until the end of October to finalize the deal, or Twitter’s lawsuit against him for trying to back out of the purchase would lead to a trial.
Other plans Musk reportedly has in store include allowing former US President Donald Trump to regain his account.
Twitter deleted the account in the wake of the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol by Trump’s followers, saying that his tweets about the event amounted to encouraging violence.
Musk has said that the lifetime ban was morally wrong and flat-out stupid and that permanent bans just fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2022.