Twitter launches an $8 monthly subscription with a blue tick

NEW YORK — Twitter on Saturday launched an $8-a-month subscription service that includes the blue tick already given to verified accounts as new owner Elon Musk overhauls the platform’s verification system.

In an update to Apple’s iOS devices, Twitter said users who “sign up now” can get the blue tick next to their names, “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.”

The change represents the end of Twitter’s current verification system, which was launched in 2009 to prevent impersonation of profiles of high-profile figures such as celebrities and politicians. Twitter before the overhaul had about 423,000 verified accounts, many of them of rank-and-file journalists from around the world, which the company verified regardless of how many followers they had.

Experts have expressed serious concern about the change to the platform’s verification system, which, while not perfect, helped Twitter’s 238 million daily users determine whether the accounts they receive information from are authentic. The update Twitter made to the iOS version of the app did not mention verification as part of the new “blue verification” system.

It comes a day after the company began laying off workers to cut costs. About half of the company’s 7,500-person staff was let go, tweeted Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on Saturday took the blame for such massive job losses. He had two stints as CEO of Twitter, the last of which lasted from 2015 to 2021.

“I take responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the size of the company too fast,” he tweeted. “I am sorry about that.”

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