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I am Spartacus: Why some celebrities are changing their Twitter name to ‘Elon Musk’ and getting banned
Plus: The rushed $8/month Twitter Blue plan was supposed to launch today, but there may be an unannounced delay of the program
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Oops, I twit it again
✋ New Twitter Blue rollout reportedly delayed until after the US midterm elections
🧐 Twitter employees allegedly expressed concern that the new verification program could lead to elections interference
😂 A parody name-changing gag from comedians like Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin illustrate potential problems with the new system if not implemented carefully
🔨 Elon Musk announced immediate bans for anyone impersonating anyone else without an explicit “parody” tag
❓ No word yet how verification will actually be carried out under the new program
Following a confusing weekend filled with prematurely released Twitter Blue changelogs and a whole lot of contradictory messaging being spread online, the rollout of the checkmark-included premium subscription may be on pause. In the meantime, the service will continue to merely give users ad-free, tweet-editable experience with priority sorting in timelines and replies, among other features.
Originally expected to drop today, the promised subscription has failed to materialize. Instead, the account verification portion and new fee structure is being pushed back to a later date after the US midterm elections, according to unnamed sources cited by CNN and The New York Times. This allegedly came after employees raised alarms about the potential for bad actors to interfere with the election results by misusing their blue checks to impersonate politicians and sow misinformation in a new, very visible way.
At the same time, this weekend saw high-profile demonstrations of that exact potential for misuse from comedians like Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin, who changed their display names, profile pictures and bios to match those of Elon Musk, who now owns the beleaguered social media platform.
Both comedians’ accounts were suspended, though Silverman’s was reinstated.
Musk’s response, the tweeting equivalent of wagging a finger in front of a defiant child’s face, was to announce bans of accounts engaging in this behavior without explicitly noting the punishment would come without warning.
Many questions surround the new program, such as how verification might be carried out, and what will distinguish it from the separate verification status Musk announced will be bestowed on public figures. I guess they’ll just be double verified?