Twitter relaunches Blue subscription service, with Apple users paying more

Elon Musk had earlier rolled back the plan due to a wave of fake accounts

Elon Musk's Twitter profile is seen on a smartphone. He has relaunched Twitter Blue. Reuters
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Elon Musk has reintroduced the Twitter Blue subscription offering weeks after it was rolled back because of imitation accounts.

The new service will cost $8 a month for those who sign up via the web browser, and $11 for Apple iOS users.

Twitter said new joiners will get subscriber-only features including Edit Tweet, 1080p video uploads, reader mode and a blue check mark (once your account has been reviewed).

“Soon, subscribers with the blue check mark will get priority ranking in search, mentions and replies to help lower the visibility of scams, spam and bots,” it said in a tweet.

Accounts must be at least 90 days old and have a confirmed phone number to subscribe to Twitter Blue, the microblogging platform said.

A new service called Twitter Blue for Business is being piloted, which adds a gold check mark to official business accounts. Governments will have a grey check mark.

New subscriptions to Twitter Blue are currently available on web only in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, with plans to expand.

The initial launch of Twitter Blue led to turmoil as a wave of fake accounts with the new blue ticks parodied US presidents, well-known dead people and large companies.

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The blue check mark was previously reserved for the verified accounts of politicians, famous personalities, journalists and other public figures.

Mr Musk said that in a few months Twitter would “remove all legacy blue checks. The way in which they were given out was corrupt and nonsensical”.

Twitter was acquired by Mr Musk at the end of October, and he has been seeking new revenue streams. The company is said to be losing $4 million per day amid a struggle to retain advertisers.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Musk disbanded Twitter's Trust and Safety Council — a body created six years ago that allows the company to tap into global expertise for help in shaping strategies around hate speech, child safety, civil rights and other sensitive issues.

An email sent to council members said Twitter was re-evaluating how it brings “external insights” into its work and decided that the council was “not the best structure to do this”, The Washington Post and CNN reported, citing copies of the message.

Some members of the Trust and Safety Council had already resigned in protest, saying the well-being of Twitter users was declining with Mr Musk in charge, CNN reported.

Furthermore, the White House on Monday condemned Mr Musk's call for Anthony Fauci, the US infectious disease expert, to be prosecuted over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These are incredibly dangerous, these personal attacks that we are seeing,” said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, in response to the weekend tweet by Musk that subsequently went viral.

“They are disgusting and they are divorced from reality,” she said.

Mr Musk urged punishment for Mr Fauci, who led the government's approach to the pandemic when it hit the country in early 2020.

Updated: December 13, 2022, 5:25 AM
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