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Twitter Blue relaunch delayed, may use new color controls for organizations

An image of Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is surrounded by Twitter logos in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland, November 08, 2022.

STR | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Twitter owner Elon Musk said late Monday that the company plans to delay the relaunch of its Blue Verified service to $8 a month. Musk said Twitter “will likely use different color verification for organizations than for individuals.”

Twitter Blue launched earlier this month but was pulled after users abused the new paid option, which Musk hoped would generate new revenue for the platform. It allowed users to pay for a blue tick, previously reserved for verified users.

Musk previously said he planned to relaunch Twitter Blue on November 29.

The paid subscription service Blue has led to a plethora of pranksters creating impostor accounts on Twitter. This left the platform even more ripe for misinformation, and many ticks acquired cheaply were used to impersonate brands, politicians and celebrities with unflattering messages.

A user posing as pharma giant Eli Lily, for example, tweeted “we are thrilled to announce that insulin is now free”.

Eli Lilly’s share price fell sharply after the fake message was posted, as did other pharmaceutical companies, including AbbVie, which also impersonated Twitter. At that time, major stock indexes were positive, amid a market rally.

Twitter tested the use of two checkmarks, including a blue checkmark for paid and pre-verified users and an “official” gray checkmark for certain brands, such as news outlets. But there was a confusing overlap, where some accounts had both ticks. Musk removed the “Official” checkmark the same day it was released.

The delay comes after Musk fired much of Twitter’s staff. About half of the company’s 7,500 employees were laid off earlier this month. Then, last week, about 1,200 more full-time employees left, according to the New York Times, after Musk asked employees to commit to working “long hours at high intensity” on his vision of “Twitter 2.0” or quit.

– CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.

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