Twitter’s pushing back the launch of its new Blue subscription with verification until after this week’s midterm elections, according to a report from The New York Times. According to an internal memo viewed by the outlet, a manager working on the project said they’ve “made the decision to move the launch of this release to Nov. 9, after the election.”
Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, announced the new $7.99 per month Twitter Blue earlier this month with perks like fewer ads, search priority, the ability to post longer videos, and the ability to pay your way to verification. Under Musk’s new rules, anyone can get a verified checkmark if they pay for Blue, sparking concern over whether users will be able to tell real accounts from fake ones.
These concerns have only grown ahead of the midterm elections, as verified users posing as politicians and news outlets have the potential to cause confusion. Before Musk’s takeover, verified checkmarks were assigned by Twitter to notable figures who could prove their account belongs to them, with the intent of fighting attempts at impersonation. The platform also had specific rules barring users with parody or unofficial fan accounts from obtaining the badge. It’s not clear how Musk plans on addressing users impersonating others on the platform, but an “Official account” label for notable users, as spotted by app researcher Nima Owji could be a part of that plan, while subscribers’ checkmarks would have a small popup noting the source of their status.
As reported previously on The Verge by Alex Heath, Musk initially wanted employees to roll out Blue with verification by November 7th and threatened to fire them if they didn’t meet this deadline. Twitter updated its app on iOS on Saturday with mentions of the new Blue subscriptions, but without actual access to it, and the changes were rolled back soon afterward. Esther Crawford, a product manager at Twitter leading the project, confirmed these features are “coming soon” but never specified when we could see an official launch.