In an all-hands meeting yesterday, Twitter boss Elon Musk told employees that it would not relaunch Twitter Blue until “we’re confident about significant impersonations not happening.”
Twitter Blue is the company’s paid subscription plan which, prior to Musk’s takeover, offered users some extra features in return for US$5 per month. Musk, however, bumped the price up to US$8 per month and gave users a blue verification tick to go with it.
Hilarity for users but nightmares for advertisers ensued as users created profiles impersonating major companies and made outlandish statements. This led to defence company Lockheed Martin and pharma company Eli Lilly losing millions in stock price valuations after mock accounts said that the former would stop supplying arms to Israel and the latter would make insulin free.
“We might launch it next week. We might not. But we’re not going to launch until there’s high confidence in protecting against those significant impersonations,” Elon Musk told employees, according to The Verge.
Musk also told employees that the company is hiring in the engineering and sales teams, just days after finalising layoffs that saw Twitter’s headcount drop by almost two-thirds.
“In terms of critical hires, I would say people who are great at writing software are the highest priority,” he said.
While the South African businessman flip-flops on whether to bring back Twitter Blue, he has been more forthright in bringing back some of the worst people to the social media platform.
Former US President Donald Trump had been long-rumoured for a comeback to Twitter under Musk’s tutelage. Following a Twitter poll with more than 15 million votes, Musk declared “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” — meaning “the voice of the people, is the voice of god,” in Latin — and reinstated the disgraced former leader of the free world.
Following Trump’s return, Musk tweeted:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 21, 2022
However, he wasn’t finished there. The father of eight then unbanned the accounts of anti-Semite Kanye West, misogynist Andrew Tate, ‘clinical psychologist’ and transphobe Jordan Peterson, right-wing satirical news outlet Babylon Bee, and Republican politician and conspiracy theorist Majorie Taylor Greene.
But conspiracy nut Alex Jones — who was ordered to pay almost US$1 billion in damages to the victims of 2012 Sandy Hook massacre — was a step too far for Musk. But not because he disagrees with Jones’ attitudes. Instead its his his methods that Musk can’t get on board with.
My firstborn child died in my arms. I felt his last heartbeat.
I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 21, 2022
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