NEW YORK (HPD) — Twitter on Saturday launched an $8-a-month subscription service that includes a blue checkmark that is now awarded to verified accounts, as its new owner, Elon Musk, reviews the company’s verification system. platform just before the legislative elections in the United States.
In an update for Apple’s iOS devices, Twitter said users who “subscribe now” will be able to receive the blue checkmark next to their names, “just like the celebrities, businesses and politicians you already follow.”
The change would spell the end of Twitter’s current verification system, which was launched in 2009 to prevent impersonations of high-profile accounts such as celebrities and politicians. Before the change, Twitter had some 423,000 verified accounts, many of them journalists from around the world who were verified by the company no matter how many followers they had.
Experts have raised serious concerns about a change to the verification system on the platform that, while not perfect, has helped Twitter’s 238 million daily users determine whether the accounts they’ve received information from were authentic. Twitter’s update to the iOS version of its app doesn’t mention verification as part of its new “blue checkmark” system.
The announcement came a day after the company began laying off employees to cut costs and as more companies are pausing their Twitter ads pending how the platform will operate under its new owner.
Roughly half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees have been laid off, Yoel Roth, chief security and integrity officer, tweeted.
Twitter co-founder Joe Dorsey on Saturday took the blame for those firings. Dorsey was Twitter’s CEO twice, most recently from 2015 to 2021. “I am responsible for the situation everyone is in: I grew the company too fast,” he tweeted. “I apologize for that”.
Musk tweeted late Friday that he had no choice but to cut those jobs, “while the company is losing $4 million a day.” He did not elaborate on daily losses at the company, saying employees who lost their jobs were offered three months of severance pay.