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Friday, January 27, 2023

Twitter relaunches highly-anticipated program after bungle

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Twitter is relaunching its fraught “Twitter Blue” program a month after the bungled rollout of the subscription service under new owner Elon Musk.

“We’re relaunching @TwitterBlue on Monday — subscribe on web for $A11/month or on iOS for $A16/month to get access to subscriber-only features, including the blue checkmark,” Twitter’s official account tweeted late Saturday afternoon.

In a thread, the company rattled off additional benefits users would receive, including the ability to edit tweets, reader mode, and a blue check mark following a review, The NY Post reports.

Twitter also clarified that the second “official” label would soon be replaced by a gold checkmark for business and a grey checkmark for government and “multilateral” accounts.

“Thanks for your patience as we’ve worked to make Blue better – we’re excited and looking forward to sharing more with you soon!” the company said.

Twitter Blue, which Musk marketed in November as a way of democratising the once-coveted blue check, quickly ran into some embarrassing hiccups with its previous debut.

Critics lampooned the idea of paying for the blue check mark, which was previously used mainly to authenticate celebrities, government officials and other public figures.

Pranksters, meanwhile, purchased the $11 monthly subscription and created a slew of accounts parodying corporations and celebrities, which were mistaken by many as the real accounts due to the blue checkmarks.

In one case, a user purchased a Twitter Blue subscription for an impostor account of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, then announced that it would make insulin free for all customers.

Lilly’s stock tanked soon after. In another, an impostor account designed to look like LeBron James’ longstanding Twitter handle claimed the star demanded to be traded away from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Twitter responded by suspending the program just days after the launch.

The social media company said Saturday that Twitter Blue subscribers who change their image, name or photo will temporarily lose their verification until their account is reviewed again, in what appears to be an attempt to crack down on the confusion over the parody accounts.

Originally published as Twitter relaunches ‘fraught’ Twitter Blue program after bungle



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