The rollout of Twitter’s revamped Blue subscription last Wednesday was met with utter chaos, as the platform was quickly overrun by trolls impersonating celebrities, brands, and public figures. This led to the social media giant pulling the plug for new signups later on Friday, in an attempt to prevent even more fake accounts from popping up.
To bring you up to speed, the updated US$ 8 service not only provides paid users with exclusive premium features, but also immediate access to Twitter’s blue check mark verification. As predicted, trolls and scammers easily took advantage of this benefit and impersonated known figures and brands to spread misinformation to Twitter users.
One instance saw a “verified” impersonator account of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly tweeting “we are excited to announce insulin is free now.” This forced the real account to apologise for the misinformation, but only after it realised what had happened a day after. However, the damage resulting from the prank has been done, as the company’s stocks fell drastically after the impersonator’s tweet reached thousands of Twitter users, including investors.
Did Twitter Blue tweet just cost Eli Lilly $LLY billions?
— Rafael Shimunov is on Mastodon (@rafaelshimunov) November 11, 2022
Another scenario had a fake but “verified” Nintendo of America account share a photo of company mascot Mario flipping a bird to everyone. This is hilarious, we have to admit, but you could imagine the number of unsuspecting people taking offence from this prank, especially to those aware of Nintendo’s image of being an established kid-friendly video game company.
We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @LillyPad.
— Eli Lilly and Company (@LillyPad) November 10, 2022
But despite the mayhem, Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is still adamant to bring back the revamped version of Twitter Blue to the platform. In a recent tweet, he revealed that the subscription service – along with the Blue Verified benefit – would relaunch on 29 November 2022, and promised that it would be “rock solid” by then.
Punting relaunch of Blue Verified to November 29th to make sure that it is rock solid
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 15, 2022
Even though Musk did not elaborate further on what changes are to be expected, he did note that all unpaid legacy Blue check marks will be removed “in a few months”. Prior to this, the billionaire also promised to introduce a new way for organisations to identify users who are “actually associated with them.”
Will Twitter finally get its Blue subscription and user verification right? Well, we’ll only find out in another two weeks.