Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again. Here’s how it will work.
LONDON (AP) — Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week, in a fresh move to revamp the service after a previous attempt backfired. It’s the latest change to the social media platform that the billionaire Tesla CEO bought last month for £44 billion, coming a day after Musk said he would grant “amnesty” for suspended accounts and causing yet more uncertainty for users. Twitter previously suspended the premium service, which under Musk granted blue-check labels to anyone paying £8 a month, because of a wave of imposter accounts.
Originally, the blue check was given to government entities, corporations, celebrities and journalists verified by the platform to prevent impersonation. In the latest version, companies will get a gold check, governments will get a gray check, and individuals who pay for the service, whether or not they’re celebrities, will get a blue check, Musk said Friday.
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“All verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates,” he said, adding it was “Painful, but necessary” and promising a “longer explanation” next week. He said the service was “tentatively launching” Dec.
2. Twitter had put the revamped premium service on hold days after its launch earlier this month after accounts impersonated companies including pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co., Nintendo, Lockheed Martin, and even Musk’s own businesses Tesla and SpaceX, along with various professional sports and political figures. It was just one change in the past two days.
On Thursday, Musk said he would grant “amnesty” for suspended accounts, following the results of an online poll he conducted on whether accounts that have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam” should be reinstated. The yes vote was 72%. Such online polls are anything but scientific and can easily be influenced by bots.
Musk also used one before restoring former U.S. President Donald Trump’s account.
“The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted Thursday using a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.” The move is likely to put the company on a crash course with European regulators seeking to clamp down on harmful online content with tough new rules, which helped cement Europe’s reputation as the global leader in efforts to rein in the power of social media companies and other digital platforms. Zach Meyers, senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform think tank, said giving blanket amnesty based on an online poll is an “arbitrary approach” that’s “hard to reconcile with the Digital Services Act,” a new EU law that will start applying to the biggest online platforms by mid-2023.
The law is aimed at protecting internet users from illegal content and reducing the spread of harmful but legal content. It requires big social media platforms to be “diligent and objective” in enforcing restrictions, which must be spelled out clearly in the fine print for users when signing up, Meyers said. Britain also is working on its own online safety law.
“Unless Musk quickly moves from a ‘move fast and break things’ approach to a more sober management style, he will be on a collision course with Brussels and London regulators,” Meyers said. European Union officials took to social media to highlight their worries. The 27-nation bloc’s executive Commission published a report Thursday that found Twitter took longer to review hateful content and removed less of it this year compared with 2021.
The report was based on data collected over the spring — before Musk acquired Twitter — as part of an annual evaluation of online platforms’ compliance with the bloc’s voluntary code of conduct on disinformation. It found that Twitter assessed just over half of the notifications it received about illegal hate speech within 24 hours, down from 82% in 2021. The numbers may yet worsen.
Since taking over, Musk has l aid off half the company’s 7,500-person workforce along with an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation. Many others have resigned, including the company’s head of trust and safety. Recent layoffs at Twitter and results of the EU’s review “are a source of concern,” the bloc’s commissioner for justice, Didier Reynders tweeted Thursday evening after meeting with Twitter executives at the company’s European headquarters in Dublin.
In the meeting, Reynders said he “underlined that we expect Twitter to deliver on their voluntary commitments and comply with EU rules,” including the Digital Services Act and the bloc’s strict privacy regulations known as General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Another EU commissioner, Vera Jourova, tweeted Thursday evening that she was concerned about news reports that a “vast amount” of Twitter’s European staff were fired. “If you want to effectively detect and take action against #disinformation & propaganda, this requires resources,” Jourova said. “Especially in the context of Russian disinformation warfare.”
Photos: Elon Musk through the years
FILE – In this Oct.
20, 2000 file photo, PayPal Chief Executive Officer Peter Thiel, left, and founder Elon Musk, right, pose with the PayPal logo at corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
FILE – In this Dec.
9, 2008 file photo, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk stands in front a Tesla sports car at a Tesla showroom in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
FILE – In this March 26, 2009 file photo, Tesla Motors CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk speaks at the unveiling of the Tesla Model S all-electric 5-door sedan, in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, March 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
In this July 21, 2009 photo, shows Tesla CEO Elon Musk talking about the lawsuit at Tesla headquarters in San Carlos, Calif., Tuesday, July 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
In this Tuesday, July 21, 2009 photo, Tesla CEO Elon Musk poses at Tesla headquarters in San Carlos, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
President Barack Obama walks to look at the Flacon 9 launch vehicle with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at Kennedy Space Center Thursday, April 15, 2010.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Calif. Gov., Arnold Schwarzenegger, right, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, left, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, center, at Tesla headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, May 20, 2010. Tesla and Toyota officials announce partnership. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, poses with a Tesla car in front of Nasdaq following the electric automaker’s initial public offering, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010, in New York.
The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker “TSLA.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Elon Musk, center, CEO of Tesla Motors, raises his hand at the Nasdaq opening bell to celebrate the electric automaker’s initial public offering, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Elon Musk, co-founder, chief executive and product architect of Tesla Motors, poses at the premiere of the documentary film “Revenge of the Electric Car,” Friday, Oct.
21, 2011, at Tesla Motors in Los Angeles. The film is director Chris Paine’s follow-up to his 2006 documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk walks in a procession after delivering the commencement speech for Caltech graduates in Pasadena, Calif. Friday, June 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gives the opening keynote at the SXSW Interactive Festival on Saturday, March 9, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett)
FILE – In this May 29, 2014 file photo, Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, introduces the SpaceX Dragon V2 spaceship at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., introduces the Model X car at the company’s headquarters Tuesday, Sept.
29, 2015, in Fremont, Calif. Musk said the Model X sets a new bar for automotive engineering, with unique features like rear falcon-wing doors, which open upward, and a driver’s door that opens on approach and closes itself when the driver is inside. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Elon Musk, CEO & Chief Product Architect of Tesla Moters, attends the premiere of “Racing Extinction” during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan.
24, 2015, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Tuesday, Sept.
27, 2016. In a receptive audience full of space buffs, Musk said he envisions 1,000 passenger ships flying en masse to Mars, ‘Battlestar Galactica’ style.
He calls it the Mars Colonial fleet, and he says it could become reality within a century. Musk’s goal is to establish a full-fledged city on Mars and thereby make humans a multi-planetary species. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
President Donald Trump talks with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, center, and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon during a meeting with business leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb.
3, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Grimes, left, and Elon Musk attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination exhibition on Monday, May 7, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, Monday, Sept.
17, 2018, in Hawthorne, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., speaks during an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec.
18, 2018. Musk has unveiled his underground transportation tunnel, allowing invited guests to take some of the first rides ever on the tech entrepreneur’s solution to “soul-destroying traffic.” (Robyn Beck/Pool Photo via AP)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk jokingly motions to kick before introducing the Model Y at Tesla’s design studio Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. The Model Y may be Tesla’s most important product yet as it attempts to expand into the mainstream and generate enough cash to repay massive debts that threaten to topple the Palo Alto, Calif., company. (AP Photo/Jae C.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, talks with SpaceX chief engineer Elon Musk, second from left, and NASA astronauts crew Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, right, in front of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, about the progress to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station, from American soil, as part of the agency’s commercial crew program at SpaceX headquarters, in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, Oct.
10, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla’s design studio Thursday, Nov.
21, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk is taking on the workhorse heavy pickup truck market with his latest electric vehicle. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and chief engineer/designer of SpaceX speaks during a news conference after a Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket test flight to demonstrate the capsule’s emergency escape system at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, Jan.
19, 2020. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks during a round table discussion with President Donald Trump at Kennedy Space Center, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk jumps in the air as people applaud during an event at the Vehicle Assembly Building on Saturday, May 23, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The event occurred after a rocket ship designed and built by SpaceX lifted off on Saturday with two Americans on a history-making flight to the International Space Station. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine looks on at left. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Dec.
1, 2020. (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool via AP)
Elon Musk walks from the justice center in Wilmington, Del., Monday, July 12, 2021.
Musk took to a witness stand Monday to defend his company’s 2016 acquisition of a troubled company called SolarCity against a shareholder lawsuit that claims he’s to blame for a deal that was rife with conflicts of interest and never delivered the profits he had promised. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
The first European factory in Gruenheide, designed for 500,000 vehicles per year, is an important pillar of Tesla’s future strategy. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP)
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