As Elon Musk‘s second week running Twitter comes to a close, the social network is tilting toward outright anarchy.
The most visible problem arose from Musk’s harebrained idea of selling verification badges for $8 a month through the premium subscription Twitter Blue — without a mechanism for confirming the user’s identity. For years, you could trust that a blue check next to, for example, the name “Rudy W. Giuliani” indicated that the account was controlled by the former mayor of New York. With Musk’s version of Twitter Blue, for a quite reasonable price, anybody can log on as the “real” Giuliani and tweet stuff like “I shidded” until they’re suspended.
It’s no wonder that the program lasted less than three days before Twitter abruptly reversed course (once again) Friday morning, pausing the paid verification program. The day before, the company had quickly backtracked on their abrupt cancellation of a second, short-lived “Official” check mark label, hoping to thwart further pranks. But with the rules shifting so rapidly from hour to hour, opportunities for mischief abound.
Even as internal reports say the company is foundering, Musk continues to tweet positively about Twitter’s usage rate, and says the check mark system “needs some tweaks, but overall proceeding well.” In an another effort to stem the tide of deceptive and joke accounts, Musk — who in October celebrated his purchase of Twitter by tweeting that comedy was now “legal” on the platform — announced that any parody feed without the word “parody” in the name would be in violation of policy.