Elon Musk announced an ongoing pause for the new paid verification feature on Twitter this Tuesday. This pause is the latest development in response to a string of impersonations and chaos on the platform since Musk’s introduction of the system in November.
“Holding off the relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation,” tweeted Musk on Tuesday. “Will probably use different color checks for organizations than individuals.”
Prior to Musk’s Blue Verified feature, the iconic Twitter checkmark was “previously reserved for verified accounts of politicians, famous personalities, journalists and other public figures,” according to Reuters. Truly, a certain level of prestige came to be associated with the blue checkmark, something that proved to be troublesome when Musk started allowing Twitter users to purchase the marks for themselves.
Per the New York Times, one account pretended to be Musk’s flagship company, Tesla, “bragging” about using child labor. Other accounts spread misinformation related to anything from product prices to brand loyalty (a fake Pepsi account conceded that Coca-Cola is superior), leading to an overt amount of chaos on the already volatile platform.
But the more sinister implications of purchased credibility are evident, and it’s clear that users who value Twitter’s ubiquity and reach in order to communicate with their audiences are hesitant to continue using the social media site if the exclusive verification checkmark is going to be so readily available to anyone with an agenda.
Musk’s decision to expedite the new feature wasn’t without its reasons. Twitter’s funding has struggled in the recent month, in part due to several advertisers pausing their purchases in anticipation of some controversy from the platform’s new owner.
Among those advertisers are General Motors and Volkswagen AG.
Although Musk remains confident that Twitter will surge under his leadership, he has poured a large amount of his time into maximizing profit margins – a process that has involved mass layoffs and a rebranding of the platform’s work culture that inspired even more walk-outs – which contextualizes his rush into rolling out a new opportunity for monetization.
For now, there is no clear word on when Blue Verified will be available again. It is possible that Musk will suspend the service through the end of the year.