Elon Musk told Twitter employees on Monday that the company won’t relaunch its paid verification subscription, Twitter Blue, until “we’re confident about significant impersonations not happening,” according to a recording of his remarks obtained by The Verge.
Musk said last week that his $8 per month Blue subscription would be made available again on November 29th. But in the meeting with employees, he said the timing of the launch was unclear: “We might launch it next week. We might not. But we’re not going to launch until there’s high confidence in protecting against those significant impersonations.”
After taking over Twitter, Musk’s first big change was to quickly introduce the ability for users to buy a blue checkmark through Twitter Blue. Despite internal warnings from Twitter’s own trust and safety staff, the Musk-led rollout quickly led to rampant impersonation of high-profile accounts, including those of Twitter’s advertisers. Paid verification was turned off after just two days.
It’s unclear how Musk intends to stop accounts from impersonating others with the blue checkmark, since Twitter Blue doesn’t verify that someone’s identify is who they claim to be. Since Musk took over, Twitter has been adding and removing separate, grey checkmarks on high-profile accounts without explanation, presumably as part of its effort to distinguish from the blue checkmark that has became a thing anyone can buy.
During the meeting today with Twitter employees, Musk said the company will “probably” need to give “institutions and companies” a “different color check” but didn’t elaborate, noting that “this is still something we’re thinking through.”
“Any given social media platform, in my view doesn’t matter what it is, is going to be vulnerable to bots and trolls unless there is some payment barrier to increase the cost of bots and trolls significantly,” he said. He also told employees that Twitter was done with layoffs and hiring again, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by The Verge.
After this story was published, Musk confirmed in a tweet that the company was “holding off relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation,” and that we “will probably use different color check for organizations than individuals.”
Musk has made Twitter Blue a top priority inside the company as part of his effort to diversify the company’s revenue away from advertising, which he said has seen a “massive drop” since he took over.
All of Twitter’s communications department has either been laid off or resigned, so there is no one to contact for comment.