According to Elon Musk, Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service, which will offer different-colored ticks to accounts over the next week, in a bid to overhaul the service after a previous failure.
- Twitter previously suspended the premium service due to a wave of scammer accounts
- Businesses receive a gold check, governments receive a gray check, and paying individuals receive a blue check
- The service will be launched “tentatively” on December 2nd
It’s the latest change to the social media platform that the billionaire Tesla CEO bought for $44 billion last month, a day after Mr Musk announced he would grant “amnesty” to suspended accounts and users even more unsettling.
Twitter had previously shut down the premium service that, under Mr Musk, gave Blue Check labels to anyone paying $8 a month amid a spate of scammer accounts.
Originally, the blue check was given to government agencies, corporations, celebrities, and journalists who were verified by the platform to prevent identity theft.
In the latest version, companies get a gold check, governments a gray check and individuals who pay for the service, whether they’re celebrities or not, get a blue check, Mr Musk said on Friday.
“All verified accounts are manually authenticated before verification is activated,” he said, adding it was “painful but necessary” and promising a “longer explanation” next week.
He said the service would be “tentatively launched” on December 2.
Twitter had put the revamped premium service on hold days after its launch earlier this month, after accounts as companies like pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co., Nintendo, Lockheed Martin and even Mr. Musk’s own companies Tesla and SpaceX, as well as various professional athletes Political figures had issued.
It was just a change in the last two days.
On Thursday, Mr Musk said he would grant “amnesty” to suspended accounts after the results of an online poll he conducted on whether accounts not “broke the law or engaged in egregious spam” should be restored .
The yes vote was 72 percent. Such online surveys are unscientific and easily influenced by bots.
Mr Musk also used one before restoring former US President Donald Trump’s account.
“The people have spoken. The amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Mr Musk tweeted Thursday, using a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”
The move is likely to send the company on a crash course as European regulators seek to curb harmful online content with tough new rules, which have helped cement Europe’s reputation as a global leader in efforts to harness the power of social media companies and others curb, consolidate digital platforms.
EU introduces new e-safety laws
Zach Meyers, senior research fellow at the think tank Center for European Reform, said granting a blanket amnesty based on an online poll is an “arbitrary approach” that is “difficult to reconcile with the Digital Services Act,” a new one EU law that will come into effect Applying to the largest online platforms by mid-2023.
The law aims to protect Internet users from illegal content and curb the spread of harmful but legal content.
It requires major social media platforms to be “diligent and objective” in enforcing restrictions, which must be clearly stated in the fine print for users when they sign up, Mr Meyers said.
The UK is also working on its own online safety law.
“Unless Musk shifts quickly from a ‘move fast and break things’ approach to a more sober management style, he will be on a collision course with regulators in Brussels and London,” Meyers said.
European Union officials took to social media to express their concerns.
The executive committee of the 27-nation bloc released a report on Thursday that found Twitter was taking longer to review hateful content and removed less of it this year compared to 2021.
The report was based on data collected in the spring – before Mr Musk took over Twitter – as part of an annual assessment of online platforms’ compliance with the bloc’s voluntary code of conduct on disinformation.
It found that Twitter rated just over half of illegal hate speech notifications within 24 hours, compared to 82 percent in 2021.
The numbers could get worse. Since taking over, Mr. Musk has laid off half of the company’s 7,500 employees, along with an undisclosed number of contractors in charge of content moderation.
Many others have resigned, including the company’s head of trust and safety.
The recent Twitter firings and the results of the EU review “are a cause for concern,” the bloc’s Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders tweeted on Thursday night after meeting Twitter executives at the company’s European headquarters in Dublin.
At the meeting, Mr Reynders said he “underlined that we expect Twitter to live up to its voluntary commitments and to comply with EU regulations,” including the Digital Services Act and the bloc’s strong data protection rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR are known.
Vera Jourova, the European Commission’s Vice-President for Values and Transparency, tweeted on Thursday evening that she was concerned by news reports that a “large number” of European Twitter workers had been laid off.
“Effectively exposing and countering #disinformation and propaganda requires resources,” Ms. Jourova said.
“Especially in the context of the Russian disinformation war.”
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