Twitter prepares to roll out new paid subscription service that includes blue checkmark
by Brian Fung, CNN
Twitter on Saturday launched an updated version of its iOS app that promises to allow users to pay a monthly subscription to receive a blue checkmark on their profiles, a feature that Elon Musk, the company’s new owner, has proposed as a way to fight spam on the platform.
The app’s latest update was outlined on Apple’s App Store, stating that users will now have to pay $7.99 per month for the company’s Twitter Blue subscription to receive the checkmark on the platform, “just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.” The checkmark has long been used to confirm the authenticity of government officials, prominent figures, and journalists.
CNN’s testing of the service on Saturday afternoon, however, suggested the rollout was not yet complete. A fresh Twitter account created by CNN that signed up for the paid feature did not show the checkmark on its public profile. Twitter also still appeared to be charging $4.99, an outdated price.
Esther Crawford, a director of product management at Twitter, confirmed the service was not yet live, writing in a tweet: “The new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real-time.”
The feature, Twitter’s App Store page said, is available to iOS users in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The feature was not mentioned on Twitter’s page on the Google Play Store for Android devices as of early Saturday afternoon.
Musk has argued that allowing all users to pay to be verified on Twitter will raise the costs of producing spam and misinformation. Some platform moderation experts and civil rights leaders have been more wary, suggesting it could allow malicious actors to impersonate government officials or allow well-resourced, state-backed disinformation actors to continue to game the platform.
The new verification feature could have an array of unintended consequences, Color of Change CEO Rashad Robinson told reporters on a call Friday, warning of “unprecedented impacts on election chaos.”
“Any right-wing troll can pay $8… get a blue check mark and then change their name to CNN or Georgia’s secretary of state,” he said.
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