Musk: Paid checkmarks won’t return until Twitter can stop impersonation


Musk: Paid checkmarks won't come back until Twitter can stop impersonation

When Elon Musk first launched his Twitter Blue subscription service, the goal was to make it possible to buy the blue check mark as a coveted status symbol. Now, the billionaire is backing down (for now, at least), announcing in a tweet that the relaunch of Blue Verified’s verification marks will be delayed and, when implemented, the verification marks that distinguish between Blue Verified subscribers and official verified accounts will likely be different colors.

“Delay relaunching Blue Verified until there is strong confidence in stopping phishing,” Musk tweeted. “You’ll probably use a different color check for organizations than for individuals.”

Many Twitter users suggested this obvious solution before fake account scandal found the platform peppered with knockoffs of popular but chaotic brands. That ultimately led Musk to revoke option pay $8 for a Blue Verified subscription.

Musk’s tweet doesn’t make it clear how different color controls for organizations versus individuals would actually prevent spoofing. Twitter staff initially warned him that scammers would use Blue Verified to impersonate world leaders or public figures, but Musk ignored that advice at the time. If he’s still trying to salvage his original idea of ​​selling the checkmark to subscribers on the grounds that regular users are fighting for a marker of celebrity status, there still seems to be a risk that fake accounts could hurt subscribers. individual users.

Just this week, for example, reported vice that a fake account used Blue Verified to impersonate FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. That fake account was based on a fake video purporting to show Bankman-Fried promising to reimburse victims of the FTX scandal by entering them into a cryptocurrency giveaway that would help them not only recover their lost funds, but also double their money.

Based on the video and Twitter’s verified checkmark, the fake account tricked users into visiting the cryptocurrency giveaway and sending tokens to the scammer. In return, the Twitter users who were scammed got nothing, Vice reported.

In this particular case, Bankman-Fried’s victims were the targets of the crypto scam, but more commonly these types of scams are based on fake celebrity endorsements. If Blue Verified doesn’t distinguish between official celebrity accounts and fake ones, it’s easy to see how these crypto scams could become a bigger problem for Twitter.

Reuters reported that Musk had originally planned to revive Blue Verified next week, but his latest tweet suggests the wait will be longer.

Musk plans to roll out other Twitter 2.0 features

It makes sense that Musk would focus on protecting brands from impersonation as a priority in his relaunch of Blue Verified, since Twitter can’t turn a profit without reassuring advertisers. But Musk has other great ideas, too, and has told his small team of engineers that require long hours of them to help evolve the platform.

The Verge obtained a recording of a meeting Musk held on Monday, reporting that Musk’s new vision of Twitter 2.0 is a service where private messages are completely private. For Musk, that means all direct messages are encrypted, which is why he plans to work with Signal. According to Musk, Signal is “potentially” interested in helping Musk make sure that: “I can’t look at anyone’s DMs if someone has put a gun to my head.”

Signal, however, told Ars that the company has not been in official talks with Musk.

“Signal has not been working with Twitter on this effort,” Meredith Whittaker, Signal’s president, told Ars. “We believe more private communications are a net good, and we’re interested to see how Twitter addresses the complexity of creating usable, encrypted DMs on the web and mobile devices.”

In addition to encrypted DMs, Musk wants to add encrypted voice and video chat features.

“We want users to be able to communicate without worrying about their privacy, [or] without being worried about a data breach on Twitter causing all your DMs to hit the web, or thinking that maybe someone on Twitter could be spying on your DMs,” Musk told Twitter staff.

For anyone in the know, this means that in addition to launch of potential paid features—like sending a DM to a celebrity or watching exclusive videos from content creators—basic fixes—like improve twitter search—and bold ideas—like turning Twitter into the next PayPal—Musk also hopes to make Twitter a reference messenger for users. He will do this, he told his team, moving away from other messaging services and making it so that Twitter users don’t have to share real phone numbers to communicate.

“You don’t have to give anyone your phone number,” Musk told the employees.

It seems like, ideally in Musk’s world, Twitter handles would become every user’s complete online identity, something obviously worth paying $8 a month for, as soon as you figure out this whole hacking thing. identity theft.