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Musk delays Twitter relaunch after fake account frenzy

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Plans to relaunch Twitter's paid subscription service has been delayed after authentic-looking fake accounts proliferated on the website that Musk bought for $44 billion late last month, throwing his plans into chaos./AFP
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Nov 16, 2022 - 12:33 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk on Tuesday postponed the relaunch of the site’s paid subscription service after a first attempt saw an embarrassing spate of fake accounts that scared advertisers.

“Punting relaunch of Blue Verified to November 29th to make sure that it is rock solid,” Musk tweeted, delaying his new revamp, originally promised for Tuesday, by two weeks.

The bid for more time came after authentic-looking fake accounts proliferated on the website that Musk bought for $44 billion late last month, throwing his plans into chaos.

This forced Twitter last week to suspend the new paid checkmark system and reinstate a gray “official” badge on accounts belonging to public figures and major businesses.

In an apparent attempt to avoid a repeat of the problem, Musk tweeted that in the new release, “changing your verified name will cause loss of checkmark until name is confirmed by Twitter to meet Terms of Service.”

In the original revamp users in the US could pay eight dollars for the verified checkmark and were left free to change their account names and impersonate existing accounts, attracting mischief.

Musk’s overhaul of Twitter had already been the subject of heavy criticism after he fired half of the company’s 7,500-strong staff and saw major advertisers suspend ad buys amid the chaos.

Firings this week continued at the platform, with one senior engineer dismissed via a tweet by Musk after he questioned his new policies.

US media reports said about a dozen employees were let go in recent days after openly questioning decision-making by Musk, who has called himself a “free speech absolutist”.

Musk has radically changed the company’s culture since taking it over on October 27.

He has scrapped a highly popular work from home policy, imposed long hours and centralized authority around a small group of confidantes, including his personal lawyer.

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