The Elon Twitter madness continues: From Monday, Twitter will be selling blue hooks again – and Apple users will have to pay more than others. Meanwhile, Elon Musk is provoking a post about the virologist Anthony Fauci.
Elon Musk’s first attempt to launch a paid blue Twitter tick ended in chaos. Now the controversial Twitter boss is making a new attempt: the short message service has announced a relaunch of “Twitter Blue” for Monday. Twitter users can then get a blue tick for their profile again for a fee and unlock premium functions.
However, Apple users have to pay more: Twitter Blue should cost 8 dollars a month in the web version – iPhone users with Apple’s iOS system, on the other hand, should shell out 11 dollars. Twitter apparently wants to take revenge for the fees that Apple takes for sales in the App Store by default. Musk had previously described the 30 percent fee as overpriced and accused Apple of monopolistic practices. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Musk even “declared war” on Apple at the end of November.
Twitter Blue users should be “verified”.
Twitter announced that it would give the blue tick to users with a verified phone number whose account was “verified” by Twitter. The company apparently wants to avoid repeating the disaster from the first attempt. After Twitter previously only gave the hook to verified profiles of celebrities, businesses and other organizations, Musk had released the hook to anyone who pays in the first round of Twitter Blue. Twitter was immediately flooded with fake celebrity accounts. False company accounts caused stock market turbulence, even Jesus suddenly had an official account.
In the future, Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to change their profile name, their profile photo and even their Twitter handle. In this case, however, they lose the blue tick until they are checked again, the company announced. Musk took over Twitter for $44 billion at the end of October and is now desperately looking for refinancing opportunities.
The company promises Twitter Blue subscribers earlier access to new features and additional privileges over the average Joe. The tweets and replies from premium users should be displayed more prominently, they should be able to post longer videos and receive less advertising. Twitter announced all of these features over the weekend with “Coming Soon”.
In addition to the Blue relaunch, Twitter also announced a restart for other labels. The “Official” label, which was also hastily introduced, is to be replaced by a golden tick for companies. In the course of the week, there should also be a gray tick for “government and multilateral accounts”.
Elon Musk jokes about pursuing Fauci
However, it is unlikely that more serious tones will dominate on Twitter in the future. Elon Musk has fired more than half of the staff since the Twitter takeover, including most of the content moderation team. He presents himself as a champion of freedom of speech, has brought blocked users back to the platform and takes part in debates from the right-wing populist camp.
On Sunday, he tweeted alleging the prosecution of top public health expert Anthony Fauci – packaged as a joke at the expense of transgender people. Shortly before, he posted a photo montage in which Fauci, as Grima Wormtongue from “Lord of the Rings”, whispered the next lockdown to President Joe Biden. As the US government’s top corona fighter, the 81-year-old immunologist Fauci became the red rag for right-wing corona conspiracy ideologues. Far-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene promptly applauded Musk’s “Prosecute/Fauci” tweet.
In the past few days, Musk has posted several tweets about the so-called “Twitter Files” – internal documents intended to show how unfair Twitter used to be when blocking unwanted content. Musk himself does not block and even happily spreads conspiracy theories himself.
When the husband of Nancy Pelosi, the great political enemy of the US right, was attacked in his house a few weeks ago, Musk also spread a conspiracy theory from a right-wing platform. “The way Twitter content moderation has changed since he took charge has clearly shifted in favor of the far right,” said extremism researcher J.M. Berger told Business Insider. “I think he intentionally strengthens the right-wing extremists.”