Elon Musk relaunches subscription service ‘Twitter Blue’

Elon Musk relaunched ‘Twitter Blue’, the exclusive Twitter subscription service on Monday after the initial launch saw an embarrassing surge in fake accounts, which concerned advertisers.

The first try last month came just 10 days after Musk’s $44 billion takeover of the platform and massive rounds of layoffs that saw the employee count go down by almost half, including the crucial content moderation teams.

Twitter Blue which costs $8 per month for users accessing Twitter on the web and $11 if signing up on an Apple device, is being relaunched in only a handful of countries apart from the United States.

The service which enables users to receive the coveted blue checkmark on their accounts, indicating verification by Twitter, was previously free of charge, but reserved for well-known organizations and public figures, in an attempt to avoid impersonation and misinformation.

The relaunch came the same day as reports that Musk disbanded Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, created with the intent to tap into global experts for help in shaping strategies around hate speech, child safety, civil rights and other sensitive issues.

Since his takeover, critics have tussled with Mr. Musk, who has described himself as a free-speech absolutist and vowed to let people tweet whatever they want, within the law.

Musk believes that the previous ownership of Twitter held a strong left-wing bias and had unfairly banned accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump.

On Sunday, Musk lashed out against the outgoing key US government advisor to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

‘My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,’ Musk had said.

Mr. Musk’s tweets came as Dr Fauci prepared to step down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the end of this year.

Amongst others, former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly also opposed Musk’s tweet and replied, ‘Elon, please don’t mock and promote hate toward already marginalised and at-risk-of-violence members of the #LGBTQ+ community. They are real people with real feelings. Furthermore, Dr. Fauci is a dedicated public servant whose sole motivation was saving lives.’

Musk responded to Kelly, saying ‘I strongly disagree. Forcing your pronouns upon others when they didn’t ask, and implicitly ostracizing those who don’t, is neither good nor kind to anyone. As for Fauci, he lied to Congress and funded gain-of-function research that killed millions of people. Not awesome imo.’

Mr. Musk has been at the helm of many decisions that have led to debate, after taking over Twitter, with his many vacillating changes to the platform and his political stance.

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