Twitter Inc. will delay its launch of its new blue-checkmark system until after the midterm elections, according to a new report.
The new plan for Twitter Blue, unveiled Saturday, will allow any user who pays $8 a month to receive a checkmark, which previously had signified a verified account and was given for free by Twitter to companies, government officials, journalists, celebrities and others who qualified, in an effort to combat misinformation.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Twitter will delay the rollout until after Tuesday’s elections, following concerns that a sudden spike in misinformation from unverified but checkmarked accounts impersonating others could interfere with the voting process. It will launch on Wednesday instead.
The overhaul launched just days after Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, demanded the change, leading to speculation that the new product was rushed and not ready for prime time. Musk, who bought Twitter for an inflated price of $44 billion, is seeking to immediately slash costs from the unprofitable company. A number of major advertisers have paused their Twitter spending over fears that, despite Musk’s denials, Twitter will become a “free-for-all hellscape” under the new regime.
Twitter hurriedly laid off about half its staff of 7,500 employees Friday, causing concern that the company would not be able to function properly, nor be able to moderate misinformation or hate speech. Over the weekend, Bloomberg News and tech journalist Casey Newton of Platformer reported that the company had already started asking some laid-off workers to come back to their old jobs, realizing that their experience is necessary to build the changes Musk is seeking.