All verified accounts “will be manually verified before the check is activated,” Musk tweeted.
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The Twitter owner did not elaborate on what manual authentication would entail. Accounts with outdated blue check marks on the social media site had to have their identity verified to get the token, and are mainly used by companies, celebrities, journalists, politicians and other public figures. It’s unclear if Twitter has a system for manually authenticating accounts, especially after drastically cutting staff numbers over the past month.
The billionaire took over Twitter last month in a $44 billion deal that he proposed, then tried to cancel, then re-proposed. Since the acquisition, Twitter’s workforce has been in chaos. Musk cut about half of his jobs and then issued an ultimatum to the remaining employees to either commit to a new “hardcore” Twitter or leave. Hundreds of employees refused to sign the pledge.
The company’s Trust and Safety team, which is responsible for combating hate speech and monitoring content on the site, has seen major upheaval under Musk — from leaders leaving to carefully crafted decisions being reversed. He seems to make many crucial decisions by polling Twitter users. Musk reinstated former President Donald Trump’s account and plans to reinstate nearly all previously banned accounts following separate polls.
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Several major advertisers have discontinued advertising on the site since Musk took over — endangering Twitter’s main source of income.
Shortly after taking control of the company, Musk turned the outdated tick system on its head and introduced a feature in the company’s Twitter Blue subscription service that allowed anyone to pay $7.99 and get a blue tick on their account, at provided they had an Apple ID and phone number.
But the new paid system soon went wrong. Accounts were created posing as public figures, elected officials and brands. Tweets supposedly from politicians or companies went viral.
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The chaos made it difficult to quickly determine which accounts were valid and which were impersonations, eroding trust in posts on the site. Twitter has disabled new signups to the service.
On Friday, Musk tweeted that the company “provisionally launching Verified on Friday next week.” He didn’t say exactly what that would mean for accounts that had check marks under the old system, or accounts interested in paying for Twitter’s subscription service.
Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He responded to another user, saying accounts would be suspended if they engaged in “intentional impersonation/deception”.
He added: “We’ll see how it goes.”