Twitter Blue, badge… The first (messy) change in Musk’s social network

“Any version of Twitter as we knew it before is dead.” James Glynn, a former head of content moderation teams from London, did not hide his bitterness after the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk for 44 billion euros on October 28. The richest man in the world, who preceded his reputation – from perpetual cadences in his factories to his refusal to telework – immediately dissolved the board of directors, fired the leaders, before laying off nearly half of the company’s 7,500 employees. company.

He launched several manu militari projects, including the overhaul of the paid subscription. The radical change in corporate culture was confirmed on November 4, when teams of engineers were mobilized to overhaul several features in a very short time, with their position at stake. Among the major changes launched by Elon Musk, who says he wants to “give more power to the people” and eliminate “the current system of lords and peasants, between those with blue ticks and those without”: Wednesday’s launch of an “Official” badge for government accounts, or the new Twitter Blue , the paid subscription to authenticate your account.

Until now, qualified accounts (government, media, political, cultural, etc.) could get a blue check added to their profile for free, as a token of authenticity. Twitter Blue now allows users who want it, for $8 a month, to get that famous blue tick. It is enough to fight fake profiles and automated accounts, because malicious actors therefore have to spend eight dollars each time, and have as many credit cards as accounts they want to create..

Limited offer. 2 months for 1€ without commitment

“Messages from verified accounts will be displayed by default,” Elon Musk detailed Wednesday, while tweets from people who haven’t paid for Twitter Blue will be treated like “spam” in an email inbox. . In the accounts of subscribers in the new formula, the badge is the same but it now indicates a “verified” account, as it is “subscribed to Twitter Blue”. The massively revised subscription is currently only available on the mobile application, on iPhones and in the United States. Elon Musk also assures that Twitter Blue will help fight fake accounts and diversify the platform’s revenue streams.

Cacophony around the “Official” badge

At the same time, Twitter carefully rolled out the “Official” badge. This badge is intended to distinguish official organization accounts from Twitter Blue subscribers. But just hours after launching this “Official” badge, Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday morning that he had “removed” it. “The blue tick will put everyone on the same level,” added the multi-billionaire, while communication about the evolution of the influential platform takes place mainly through his tweets and some officials.

Shortly after this new setback, which the businessman is used to, however the director of development products Esther Crawford assured that the “Official” badge will be “activated”. “We’re just getting started with governments and commercial organizations. What (Elon Musk) mentioned is the fact that we’re not giving the ‘Official’ badge to individuals at this time,” he said. Accounts such as American elected official Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pope Francis in English or even controversial rapper Kanye West received the “Official” badge before it disappeared. Political leaders also received the “Government Official” badge, including Emmanuel Macron, Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This badge is not lost for these personalities.

In addition, several accounts impersonating celebrities appeared on the network on Wednesday, including a fake LeBron James, superstar basketball player for the Lakers NBA team. The impostor with the blue tick had time to request a transfer to another team before the account was deleted.

“Twitter is going to do a lot of shit in the coming months”

The cacophony is disconcerting. But Elon Musk warns that this tricky time is far from over. “Please remember that Twitter is going to do a lot of crazy things in the coming months. We’re going to keep what works and change what doesn’t,” said the eccentric boss of Tesla and SpaceX, who espouses an absolutist view of freedom. expression

“There are no more sacred cows in Twitter products,” added Esther Crawford, who shared the general manager’s message. “Elon wants to try many things – some will fail, some will succeed. The goal is to find the right combination of changes to ensure the long-term health and growth of the business,” he said.

The California company needs to diversify its revenues, which come 90% from advertising, and while some advertisers have suspended their spending on the platform since its takeover, while waiting to see how moderation evolves of content, important for their brands. Many associations and authorities are really worried about the idea that the platform will, even more than at present, be flooded with disinformation and hate speech if Elon Musk completely relaxes content moderation. But the libertarian businessman assured that content moderation is a priority, that the rules have not changed, and that he will create a council dedicated to this task.

Elon Musk detailed his vision for the “digital public square” on Wednesday at a public online conference for advertisers. The world’s richest man wants to have “80% of humanity” on Twitter, to interact “in a more positive way”. He spoke of “an energetic search for the truth”, stating that “anything that is not true, neither interesting nor entertaining” will “stop or in any case be pushed back into the background”.



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