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Epic trolling; checkmarks for iPhone only

There’s no let-up in the Twitter chaos, as new owner Elon Musk continues to make things up as he goes along.

Musk has today stated that the rollout of “new verified Blue” is currently limited to iPhone owners only, and that new accounts are banned from applying for a Twitter Blue subscription after some epic trolling …

Twitter chaos over verification

Twitter’s blue checkmark used to mean that the company had verified the identity of the owner of an account, and that they were “notable” in some way – which mostly meant that there was a risk of someone impersonating them in order to scam people or spread disinformation.

One of the first things Musk did after taking ownership of the company was to announce that a Twitter Blue subscription would provide people with a blue verified badge, for $8/month. However, there would be no attempt to actually verify the identity of subscribers.

That went as well as anyone but Musk would have predicted, with a mass influx of fake “verified” accounts, many of them impersonating Musk himself. Other troll accounts are available:

A fake Nintendo account also saw more than 11,000 retweets before it was taken down, two hours later – among many other examples. Many of the accounts affected were understandably unhappy about it.

“The number of fake accounts posing as me has quintupled in the past few days,” tweeted bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald. “I’m not going to spend my time hunting them down repeatedly and reporting them. I’m not going to fight the chaos your create. And I’m not going to pay extortion to get a meaningless ‘I paid’ blue check.”

Next up was a delay to the launch until after midterm voting was complete, and Musk threatening permanent bans for impersonation. Alongside this, Twitter launched a new gray “Official” badge for some of the accounts that had “legacy” blue checkmarks – a policy that lasted for several hours.

When it was pointed out that the blue checkmark still said an account was notable, this was changed, so that badges obtained through a Twitter Blue subscription would say so. This means that you’d have to click on the blue check to see why it was awarded.

New Twitter accounts can’t get the checkmark

In response to the trollers, Engadget spotted that the company has now banned new accounts from buying Twitter Blue subscriptions in order to get the checkmark.

Yesterday evening, the company edited the service’s help page to add that accounts created on or after November 9th, 2022 “will be unable to subscribe to Twitter Blue at this time.” 

Only iOS users can get “verified Blue”

Musk today tweeted that, for now, only iOS users can get “verified Blue.”

Rollout of new verified Blue is intentionally limited just to iOS in a few countries with very little promotion. As we iron out issues, we will expand worldwide on all platforms.

Remote work at Twitter now banned

Musk has also told Twitter employees that they can no longer work remotely, reports Bloomberg.

New Twitter Inc. owner Elon Musk emailed his workers for the first time late Wednesday to prepare them for “difficult times ahead” and ban remote work unless he personally approved it […]

The new rules, which kick in immediately, will expect employees to be in the office for at least 40 hours per week, he added […]

Prior to Musk’s arrival, Twitter had established a permanent work-from-anywhere arrangement for its workers.

That’s likely to prompt additional resignations, as countless surveys show that software engineers in particular value the quiet and uninterrupted time they get while working from home – the engineers needed to, say, turn Twitter into a payment platform.

Photo: JJ Shev/Unsplash

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