Twitter changes new paid verification rules as impersonators spread

Twitter on Wednesday updated the rules around its new paid verification feature, a move that comes as users began impersonating celebrities, athletes and politicians alongside their new check marks.

Tea “About Twitter Blue“page that includes details about the $7.99-per-month service now has a note detailing that only people who had an account created before Nov. 9 would be able to access the feature.

The move would theoretically prevent people from creating new accounts to take advantage of the new feature.

“Twitter accounts created on or after November 9, 2022 will be unable to subscribe to Twitter Blue at this time,” the note states.

It’s not clear exactly when that update was added, but versions of the webpage logged by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which stores snapshots of many popular websites, shows that the language was added to the page sometime before 1 pm ET.

Even with that rule in place, Twitter has had to take action against many accounts that have paid for the new check mark and begun impersonating well-known people including NBA star LeBron James and NHL player Connor McDavid. Users impersonating former President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair have also been suspended.

Twitter launched the new Blue subscription Wednesday, a move that had been highly anticipated as the first major change since Elon Musk took control of the company. Musk has touted the new system as a way to bring in money, reduce the incentives for bots and trolls to use the platform, and give more users a more prominent voice.

But those plans were quickly criticized by people who argued the new system would be abused to spread misinformation or perpetuate scams. Some users recently began impersonating Musk seemingly in an effort to show him how easily the platform can be abused.

Still, Twitter rolled out the new feature less than two weeks after he took control of the company. Tech companies take months to develop and test a feature before introducing it out publicly.

Musk said Wednesday that he is pushing the company to roll things out quickly and that there will inevitably be problems.

“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months,” he tweeted. “We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.”

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