Elon Musk announced on Sunday that any Twitter account that impersonates another will be permanently suspended.
The platform’s new owner issued the warning after some celebrities changed their Twitter display names – not account names – and tweeted as ‘Elon Musk’ in response to the billionaire’s decision to offer verified accounts to all comers for $8 per month while also laying off a large portion of the workforce.
“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended,” Musk wrote. While Twitter previously issued warnings prior to suspensions, now that “widespread verification” is being implemented, “there will be no warning.”
In fact, “any name change at all” would necessitate the temporary loss of a verified checkmark, according to the world’s richest man.
Kathy Griffin’s account was suspended on Sunday after she changed her screen name to Musk. She admitted to a Bloomberg reporter that she had used his profile photo as well.
“So not all of the content moderators were fired? Lol, “Griffin later joked on Mastodon, an alternative social media platform where she recently created an account.
Actress Valerie Bertinelli used Musk’s screen name in a similar way, tweeting in support of Democratic candidates on Saturday before reverting to her real name. “Okey-dokey. I had a good time, and I believe I made my point “She later tweeted about it.
Bertinelli noted the original purpose of the blue verification checkmark prior to the stunt. It was given away for free to people whose identities Twitter employees confirmed, with journalists making up a large portion of the recipients. “It simply meant that your identity had been verified. Scammers would have a more difficult time impersonating you “Bertinelli took note.
“That is no longer the case. Best of luck out there! “She continued.
Musk claims that the $8 verified accounts are his way of democratizing the service. Users who “sign up now” for the new “Twitter Blue with verification” can get the blue check next to their names “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.” according to a Twitter update for iOS devices listed on Apple’s app store on Saturday.
It stated that the service would first be available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. However, it was not available on Sunday, and no timetable was provided. Esther Crawford, a Twitter employee, told The Associated Press that it will be available “soon but it hasn’t launched yet.”
On Sunday, Twitter did not respond to an email requesting comment on the verified accounts issue and Griffin’s suspension.
Musk then tweeted, “Twitter must become by far the most accurate source of global information. That is our goal.”
If the company removes blue checks from current verified users, which hasn’t happened yet, it could exacerbate disinformation on the platform during Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Following layoffs that began on Friday that reportedly affected about half of Twitter’s 7,500-employee workforce, some Twitter users, like Griffin, have already begun migrating away from the platform – Counter Social is another popular alternative. They are concerned that a breakdown in moderation and verification will result in a free-for-all of disinformation on what has been the internet’s primary conduit for reliable communications from government agencies and other institutions.
Many businesses have paused advertising on the platform for fear of it becoming more unruly under Musk.
In a Friday tweet, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, attempted to allay such fears. He claimed that the job cuts had the least impact on the company’s front-line content moderation staff.
Musk said late Friday that there was no choice but to cut jobs “when the company is losing over $4M/day.” He did not provide specifics on Twitter’s daily losses, but he did say that employees who were let go were given three months’ pay as severance.
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