TWITTER launched two new verification tools yesterday, but ‘killed’ one hours later in a messy start to owner Elon Musk’s campaign to revamp the influential platform after its $44 billion takeover ( RM207 billion).
The social media platform has unveiled its long-awaited Twitter Blue subscription service, which allows users to pay $7.99 per month for a coveted blue tick, plus a separate gray “official” badge for some leading accounts.
But the new gray label was almost immediately scrapped, eclipsing the launch of Twitter Blue, which is currently only available on the mobile app on iPhone and in the US.
“I just killed it,” Musk tweeted hours after the new label was added to government, big business and mainstream media accounts.
“Please note that Twitter will do a lot of stupid things in the coming months. We will keep what works and change what doesn’t,” added the richest man in the world.
The U-turn has invited closer scrutiny of Musk’s plans for Twitter a week after he laid off thousands of workers and led to a massive drop in spending by advertisers, who are wary of the site’s direction.
The blue tick has been a mark of an account’s authenticity and doubts have emerged that public figures or media would pay for it. The official gray tag has been seen by observers as a workaround to fix this problem.
The launch of the new official label began yesterday and included companies such as Apple and BMW, as well as public companies such as the White House and major media outlets.
But a few hours later, he was gone for many of them.
Accounts that had received the “official” badge – including Agence France-Presse, BBC News, Pope Francis and Kanye West – saw the mention disappear.
‘A lot of work’
Esther Crawford, an executive who announced the gray tick on Tuesday, insisted that the official label was still going to be part of the relaunch, but that “we are only focusing on government and commercial entities to start with”.
“There are no more sacred cows in products on Twitter. Elon is willing to try many things – many will fail, some will succeed,” she tweeted yesterday.
“The goal is to find the right mix of successful changes to ensure the long-term health and growth of the business.”
During a panel of announcers broadcast on Twitter, Musk exercised some damage control, admitting there was still a lot of work to be done to get the site to where he wanted to be.
“We have a lot to do on the software side. I can’t stress that enough,” he said.
Musk took control of Twitter after a protracted legal battle in which the mercurial mogul tried to renege on a deal that many believe he paid too much for.
It emerged on Tuesday that Musk had sold $4 billion worth of Tesla stock to help pay for a deal in which he incurred billions of dollars in debt.
Twitter Blue is seen as a way to overcome the loss of advertisers since Musk took over.
Last week, Twitter laid off half of its 7,500 employees, which Musk said was necessary because the company was losing $4 million a day. — AFP, November 10, 2022.