Musk’s Musts for Twitter Blue

Elon Musk has finally finalized his deal to purchase Twitter for a whopping $44 billion. The finalization of the deal comes after many months of talks and lawsuits between Musk and the company. Musk’s first decision as head of the company was to fire many of the board members, making Musk the sole party in charge of the company. 

One of the most notable changes that Musk brings to the company is in the form of the blue check mark that many companies and influencers carry next to their Twitter handle. Before this check mark was given to people (that Twitter had verified to be legitimate accounts), most of these accounts carried large numbers of followers, anywhere from a few thousand in some cases, up to several million followers. This check mark is not going anywhere, but rather it will no longer be free to those that have it or are seeking it. According to NPR, “The once-free blue check mark given to verified accounts on Twitter will soon be available to any Twitter Blue user who pays $7.99 per month. Since 2009, blue-checked accounts had been distributed to users through a verification process as a way to separate authentic accounts from impersonators.”

This check mark is far from the only change that Musk plans to bring to the table. This comes alongside rampant layoffs including many top executives, and his main goal of allowing the platform to become a place of free speech, reversing many of the censorship settings that the company had previously set in place.

The New York Times states “Mr. Musk has also promised other sweeping changes at Twitter, including new leadership, job cuts and the pursuit of new ways to make money. Twitter, which is based in San Francisco and employs more than 7,500 people, has had difficulties consistently growing its advertising-based business and attracting new users. The firings of the top company executives on Thursday were a sign that Mr. Musk intended to move swiftly.”

Some criticism has also come from things happening after Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform. One of the most notable is the deleting of accounts. Since Musk finalized the deal, several twitter users have been seen changing their profile pictures and names to Elon Musk and subsequently pretending to be him on the platform. These users are also purchasing the new blue check mark, thus marking the account as a verified legitimate account. Many of these accounts however have been labeled as spam or fake accounts, and have been  swiftly deleted after their creation and. This has also sparked an argument over whether Musk’s vision of free speech on the platform is real, or whether it will be his own version of free speech, where you can say what you want, as long as it is not about him. Musk has commented on the fake accounts. Elon has put out several tweets explaining his stance on the matter. The two most notable read “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended.” Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue.”

Whether these changes will be good or bad for the company, or for the platform’s users is unknown. Only time will tell how the sale of Twitter will change things for social media platforms as a whole as well.

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