Twitter on Saturday launched a subscription service for $8 a month that includes a blue checkmark now given to verified accounts as new owner Elon Musk overhauls the platform’s verification system.
In an update to Apple iOS devices, Twitter said users who “sign up now” can receive the blue checkmark next to their names, “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.”
The change represents 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. Twitter before the overhaul had about 423,000 verified accounts, many of them rank-and-file journalists from around the globe that the company verified regardless of how many followers they had.
Experts have raised grave concerns about upending the platform’s verification system that, while not perfect, has helped Twitter’s 238 million daily users determine whether the accounts they were getting information from were authentic. The update Twitter made to the iOS version of its app does not mention verification as part of the new “blue check” system.
It comes a day after the company began laying off workers to cut costs. About half of the company’s staff of 7,500 was let go, tweeted Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety & integrity.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on Saturday took blame for such widespread job losses. He had two runs as CEO of Twitter, with the most recent stretching from 2015 into 2021.
“I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly,” he tweeted. “I apologize for that.”