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Twitter’s legacy checkmark is going away. Here are 5 Musk-made changes.

Mar 31

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It’s been less than six months since Elon Musk closed on Twitter for $44 billion after backing out and facing litigation over the matter. There’s still a question as to whether it’s better or worse under the world’s second wealthiest person’s leadership. But, it’s certainly different. Here are the ways he’s changed the platform in this week’s Five For Friday.

#5: Twitter Blue

Before Musk, Twitter’s verified check signified an elite group of users. Just ask anyone with a legacy verified account, and they’ll tell you how important the checks are. But Twitter Blue made it so anyone willing to pay $8 on the web could procure the highly coveted check mark. It’s $11 if you sign up from an iOS or Android device so the company can make up the respective app store fees of 30%. Twitter Blue subscribers can edit tweets, get early access to new features and eventually see fewer ads. Musk said the platform will start taking away the old guard’s checks in April. Full disclosure: At the time of writing, Simone Del Rosario has a legacy verified account, although it provides the caveat that she “may or may not be notable.”

#4: Verified ‘For You’

It seems the idea of verified accounts is important to the Twitter ecosystem. Musk announced this week that only verified accounts will show up in the platform’s ‘For You’ section, which uses its algorithm to recommend content from people you don’t follow. He claims it’s the only way to combat bots taking over the platform, something he was concerned about amid negotiations to buy the company. Users will also need a blue check to take part in Twitter polls too, a feature Musk himself has used quite a bit since taking over.

#3: Account reinstatement

Over the years, Twitter has banned a whole host of controversial figures including Alex Jones, Tila Tequila and ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli. When Musk took over, he wanted a fresh start and reinstated folks like kickboxer Andrew Tate, who apparently has a massive following for being a misogynist. He was later roasted by climate activist Greta Thunberg before being arrested in Romania on sex trafficking charges. Former President Donald Trump was also reinstated after being banned following the events of Jan. 6, 2021. But he never returned, opting to stick to his own platform Truth Social. Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, also made a brief return before getting banned again. Jones, Tequila, and Shkreli have yet to get a Twitter reprieve.

#2: No more Trust and Safety

Shortly after taking over, Musk disbanded the platform’s Trust and Safety Council. It was a group of 100 independent advisors created in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation and self-harm, among other issues on Twitter. Prior to doing away with the council, studies showed hate speech had already spiked on the platform since Musk’s takeover. But for his part, Musk claims he defeated the hate bots. Independent analyses say otherwise.

#1: Twitter Files

Musk’s Twitter, or Twitter 2.0, has been more transparent than previous leadership. He tapped independent journalists like Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss to report on the Twitter Files, a series of select internal documents from the company. The Twitter Files have covered issues like the platform’s moderation of the Hunter Biden laptop story from the New York Post, Jan. 6, COVID-19 and Twitter’s dealings with the U.S. government, just to name a few. He also said he will make Twitter’s recommendation algorithm open source as of March 31. Parts of Twitter’s source code have apparently already been leaked, according to court filings.

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Simone Del Rosario:

IT’S BEEN 5 MONTHS SINCE ELON MUSK SPENT $44 BILLION TO BUY TWITTER AND TAKE IT PRIVATE. DO YOU THINK IT’S MORE OR LESS OF A CESSPOOL NOW? HERE ARE THE WAYS HE’S CHANGED THE PLATFORM IN THIS WEEK’S FIVE FOR FRIDAY.

THE END IS NEAR…BEFORE ELON, THE VERIFIED CHECK SIGNIFIED AN ELITE GROUP OF USERS. JUST ASK EM, THEY WERE THE ONES OOZING SELF IMPORTANCE. BUT TWITTER BLUE MADE IT SO ANYONE WILLING TO SHELL OUT 8 TO 11 BUCKS A MONTH CAN GET THAT SPECIAL SIGN. BLUE USERS CAN ALSO EDIT TWEETS, GET EARLY ACCESS TO NEW FEATURES, AND WILL EVENTUALLY GET FEWER ADS. AS A LEGACY BLUE CHECK, I GOTTA LIVE WITH THE FACT THAT I “MAY OR MAY NOT BE NOTABLE.” AND MUSK SAYS HE’LL START TAKING AWAY CHECKMARKS LIKE MINE ON APRIL FIRST.

SPEAKING OF CHECKMARKS, MUSK JUST ANNOUNCED THAT SOON, ONLY VERIFIED ACCOUNTS ARE GONNA SHOW UP IN TWITTER’S “FOR YOU” SECTION. HE CLAIMS IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO COMBAT BOTS TAKING OVER THE PLATFORM. YOU’LL NEED A BLUE CHECK TO WEIGH IN ON TWITTER POLLS TOO. MAYBE HE’S ONTO SOMETHING HERE. DO YOU REALLY THINK A SINGLE BOT RUNNER’S GONNA PAY 8 GRAND A MONTH TO HAVE A THOUSAND ACCOUNTS PUSHING CRYPTO?

OVER THE YEARS TWITTER BANNED A BUNCH OF CONTROVERSIAL FIGURES. WHEN MUSK TOOK OVER, HE WANTED TO START FRESH AND REINSTATED FOLKS LIKE KICKBOXER ANDREW TATE, WHO IS WIDELY FOLLOWED FOR, EHHH, MISOGYNY? AWESOME. HE LATER GOT DUNKED ON BY CLIMATE ACTIVIST GRETA THUNBERG BEFORE BEING ARRESTED IN ROMANIA ON SEX TRAFFICKING CHARGES. FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP ALSO GOT HIS ACCOUNT BACK AFTER BEING BANNED FOLLOWING JANUARY SIXTH, BUT HE DOESN’T NEED TWITTER, HE’S GOT THE TRUTH. OH. AND YE’S REINSTATEMENT DIDN’T LAST LONG.

SHORTLY AFTER TAKING OVER MUSK GOT RID OF THE PLATFORM’S TRUST AND SAFETY COUNCIL. IT WAS A GROUP OF 100 INDEPENDENT ADVISORS CREATED IN 2016 TO DEAL WITH HATE SPEECH, CHILD EXPLOITATION AND SELF-HARM AMONG OTHER THINGS. JUST BEFORE MUSK MADE THE MOVE, THERE WERE ALREADY STUDIES SHOWING HATE SPEECH SPIKED AFTER HIS TAKEOVER. BUT MUSK CLAIMS THEY’VE NOW DEFEATED THE HATE BOTS, THOUGH INDEPENDENT ANALYSES SAY OTHERWISE.

FINALLY, MUSK’S TWITTER HAS BEEN WAY MORE TRANSPARENT THAN THE PREVIOUS REGIME…TAPPING INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS LIKE MATT TAIBBI AND BARI WEISS TO REPORT ON THE TWITTER FILES. THE SERIES HAS COVERED EVERYTHING FROM TWITTER’S MODERATION OF THE HUNTER BIDEN NEW YORK POST STORY TO JANUARY 6TH, TO COVID, TO TWITTER’S DEALINGS WITH THE GOVERNMENT. OH AND FOR YOU CODERS, AND GET READY TO DIG THROUGH THAT ALGORITHM.

THAT’S FIVE FOR FRIDAY. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, HEY WHO WROTE IN THAT SHAMELESS PLUG? I’M @SIMONEREPORTS. IT’S JUST BUSINESS.


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