Twitter’s blue tick verification scheme is expected to return within days, Elon Musk has said, after the social media website was forced to halt new applications last week after fake accounts were set up.
Mr Musk, who took over as chief executive of Twitter late last month after his $44bn (£37bn) takeover completed, said this weekend that the scheme was likely to be relaunched by the “end of next week”.
The system allows anyone to pay £6.99 a month, or $8 in the US, and receive a blue tick for their account – something which had previously only been given to public figures, such as politicians and journalists to verify that they were legitimate users.
The new scheme, which Mr Musk had said was an effort to get rid of Twitter’s “lords and peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark”, had been halted last Friday following the chaotic launch of Twitter Blue.
A host of fake accounts quickly signed up for the blue tick verification – including one impersonating President George W Bush and another Tony Blair. American pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly was forced to apologise after a verified account which claimed to represent the company said insulin would now be free. It clarified that was not the case.
The attempt to revive Twitter Blue comes as part of a wider shake-up of the social media website by Mr Musk, which has prompted concerns from advertisers over whether they want to keep paying to appear on Twitter.
Over the weekend, Omnicom –a global media agency which represents 5,000 clients including McDonald’s, Apple and Pepsi – told its customers to halt Twitter promotions amid concerns that it could present a “serious risk to brand safety”, given the imposter accounts. Twitter has been trialling using separate “official” labels to differentiate accounts of prominent figures.
Mr Musk has been pushing through the overhaul, as he warned last week that Twitter was at risk of bankruptcy, saying it would not “survive the upcoming economic downturn” without taking steps to increase revenues. The company is losing around £3.4m every day due to advertisers halting spending.