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Elon Musk says he has a tentative timeline to roll out again its new paid verification system for Twitter.
“Sorry for the delay, we’re tentatively launching Verified Friday next week,” the embattled new CEO wrote in a tweet early Friday.
This will be his second attempt at launching a paid verification system. His first attempt earlier this month failed after users successfully impersonated companies and celebritiesincluding Lebron James, former President George W. Bush and Musk himself.
An account posing as pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. tweeted that insulin was free, sending the company’s stock plummeting.
This time, Musk says, all accounts will be manually verified and color-coded for different entities.
“Gold check for businesses, gray check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not) and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before the check is activated,” he explained in a Twitter thread.
But he hasn’t yet explained how the manual verification will work, or if it might delay the verification process, especially given that more than half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees resigned or were fired since Musk bought the company about a month ago.
Verification practices for social media platforms require a “strong, nimble, large team that scales well,” says Rachel TobaccoCEO of cybersecurity company SocialProof Security.
“With a reduced workforce, it remains to be seen if it will be possible to prevent fraud, identity theft and scams with their new identity verification methodology”, she wrote in an email to NPR. “The crooks will quickly determine how they can overwhelm or manipulate the identity verification system to be ‘authenticated’ as an entity they are not.”
Twitter did not respond to an interview request at the time this story was published.
“Deliberate impersonation/deception will result in account suspension,” Musk tweeted Friday about the new plan. “We’ll see how it goes.”
He also wrote that “individuals may have [a] small secondary logo showing they belong to an organization if verified as such by that organization,” promising more details next week.
Asking users to pay for verification is a cornerstone of Musk’s new plan to make Twitter profitable and less financially reliant on ad revenue. Already, half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers no longer advertise on the website, according to a new report from left-leaning think tank Media Matters for America.
These 50 advertisers have spent nearly $2 billion on Twitter ads since 2020 and over $750 million in 2022 alone.
Musk’s latest Twitter thread didn’t mention whether his new plan would deviate from initial plans to charge $7.99 per month for verification.
But his announcement came in response to a Tweet from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who criticized Musk for failing to understand that “the value of a company lies in its workers – their knowledge, skills and ideas. “.
“Interesting,” Musk replied. “Now pay $8.”