Twitter to delay rollout of verification until US midterm elections

Twitter is reportedly delaying the rollout of follower verification flags as the social network tries to avoid a possible impact on Tuesday’s midterm elections.

The social media company owned by Elon Musk planned to launch an updated version of your subscription service, Twitter Blue, on Monday. The company started testing the new features on Saturdayaccording to an app update note.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The reported move to delay the release of verification badges comes just days before the US midterm elections, with polls closing on November 8. New York Times reports that the move is aimed at limiting the potential fallout from verified users impersonating political or other government figures, such as President Biden, or news outlets claiming false results that could discourage others from voting.

Jen Easterly, director of CISA, the US government agency with the task of monitoring the security of the elections and protecting the voting infrastructure, said last week that the agency had found “no credible or concrete information about efforts to disrupt or compromise,” but warned of continued risks posed by disinformation campaigns planted by foreign actors aimed at undermining confidence in the electoral system.

Security experts like Chris Krebs, former director of CISA who was fired by President Trump for refuting false allegations of election fraud, warned that Twitter’s new verification rules would be a “big risk” ahead of the midterm elections.

At the time of writing, several verified users were impersonating Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, despite the risk of having their accounts suspended for impersonation.

The updated Twitter Blue, which will cost $7.99 per month in the US, includes a range of new features, including a coveted blue checkmark for anyone who subscribes, as well as a reduction in the number of ads shown to them on the platform.

Musk is betting on making the subscription service a major source of revenue for Twitter, which he acquired last month for $44 billion. Musk financed the purchase with $13 billion from banks and must pay more than $1 billion a year in interest payments.

The company began cutting costs earlier this week, cutting roughly half its workforceor about 3,700 jobs.

In a series of tweets earlier this weekend, Musk said the company’s revamped Twitter Blue “could beat” the ad revenue YouTube offers creators and that he was also working on fixing Twitter’s search functionality.

Twitter will also soon allow users to attach long text to tweets, he said. Twitter plans to roll out the revamped Twitter Blue to subscribers in many markets in the coming months. In response to the tweet, Musk said he hopes Twitter Blue will roll out to users in India “in less than a month.”

Read more about Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter on TechCrunch

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