BOSTON (AP) — Elon Musk tweeted Sunday that Twitter will permanently suspend any account on the social media platform that impersonates another.
The platform’s new owner issued the warning after some celebrities changed their Twitter display names — not their account names — and tweeted as “Elon Musk” in response to the billionaire’s decision to offer verified accounts to all comers in 8 months while simultaneously laying off a large chunk of the workforce. forces.
“From now on, any Twitter that engages in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk wrote. While Twitter previously issued suspension warnings, now that it’s rolling out “extended verification, there will be no warning.”
In fact, “any name change” would force a temporary loss of the verified tick, the world’s richest man said.
Comedian Kathy Griffin had her account suspended on Sunday after changing her screen name to Musk. She told a Bloomberg reporter that she also used his profile picture.
“I don’t think ALL the content moderators were fired? Lol,” Griffin later joked on Mastodon, the alternative social media platform where she set up an account last week.
Actress Valerie Bertinelli similarly appropriated Musk’s screen name, posting a series of tweets in support of the Democratic candidate on Saturday before reverting to her real name. “Okay then. I had fun and I think I made my point,” she wrote on Twitter.
Before the sensation, Bertinelli noticed the original purpose of the blue authentication mark. It was provided free of charge to people whose identity was verified by Twitter employees; a large part of the beneficiaries are journalists. “It meant your identity was verified. It would be harder for fraudsters to impersonate you,” Bertinelli noted.
“That doesn’t apply anymore. Good luck out there!” she added.
The $8 verified bills are Musk’s way of democratizing the service, he says. On Saturday, a Twitter update for iOS devices listed in Apple’s app store said users who “sign up now” for the new “Twitter Blue with Verification” can get a blue check next to their names “as well as celebrities, companies and politicians, which you already follow.”
It said the service will first be available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. However, it was not available on Sunday and there was no indication when it would be launched. Esther Crawford, a Twitter employee, told the Associated Press that it’s coming “soon, but it hasn’t launched yet.”
Twitter did not respond Sunday to an email seeking comment on the issue with verified accounts and Griffin’s suspension.
Musk later tweeted: “Twitter must become by far the most accurate source of information about the world. That’s our mission.”
If the company stripped current verified users of blue checks — something it hasn’t done — it could exacerbate misinformation on the platform during Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Like Griffin, some Twitter users have already begun migrating off the platform — Counter Social is another popular alternative — following layoffs that began Friday and reportedly affected about half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees. They fear that a failure of moderation and verification could create freely available misinformation about what has been the Internet’s main conduit for reliable communications from public agencies and other institutions.
Many companies have suspended advertising on the platform out of concern that it could become more unruly under Musk.
Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security and integrity, sought to allay those concerns in a tweet on Friday. He said the company’s front-line content management employees were the group least affected by the job cuts.
Musk said on Twitter late Friday that there was no choice but to cut jobs “when the company is losing over $4 million a day.” He did not provide details on the daily losses on Twitter, saying that employees who lost their jobs had been offered three months’ severance pay.
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