Elon Musk's new warning for 'parody' accounts, says this
Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Sunday said that any account on Twitter that impersonates another will be permanently suspended from the social media platform. The development was seen after some celebrities were seen changing their Twitter display names while tweeting their reaction to the billionaire's decision to offer verified accounts to all comers for month.
“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended,” Musk wrote in a series of tweets. While Twitter previously issued warnings before suspensions, now that it is rolling out “widespread verification, there will be no warning.” In fact, “any name change at all” would compel the temporary loss of a verified checkmark, the world's richest man said. Comedian Kathy Griffin had her account suspended Sunday for switching her screen name to Musk.
In a similar move, Actress Valerie Bertinelli also posted a series of tweets in support of Democratic candidates on Saturday before switching back to her true name. “Okey-dokey. I've had fun and I think I made my point,” she tweeted afterwards. Before the stunt, Bertinelli noted the original purpose of the blue verification checkmark. It was granted free of charge to people whose identity Twitter employees had confirmed; with journalists accounting for a big portion of recipients. “It simply meant your identity was verified. Scammers would have a harder time impersonating you,” Bertinelli noted. “That no longer applies. Good luck out there!” she added.
The verified accounts are Musk's way of democratizing the service, he claims. On Saturday, a Twitter update for iOS devices listed on Apple's app store said users who “sign up now” for the new “Twitter Blue with verification” can get the blue check next to their names “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.” It said the service would first be available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. However, it was not available Sunday and there was no indication when it would roll go live. A Twitter employ, Esther Crawford, told The Associated Press it is coming “soon but it hasn't launched yet.”
Twitter did not respond on Sunday to an email seeking comment. If the company were to strip current verified users of blue checks — something that hasn't happened — that could exacerbate disinformation on the platform during Tuesday's midterm elections. Some Twitter users have already begun migrating from the platform — to alternatives such as Mastodon and Counter Social — following layoffs that began Friday that reportedly affected about half of Twitter's 7,500-employee workforce. They fear a breakdown of moderation and verification could create a disinformation free-for-all on what has been the internet's main conduit for reliable communications from public agencies and other institutions.
Many companies have paused advertising on the platform out of concern it could become more unruly under Musk. Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of safety and integrity, sought to assuage such concerns in a tweet Friday. He said the company's front-line content moderation staff was the group least affected by the job cuts. Musk tweeted late Friday that there was no choice but to cut jobs “when the company is losing over M/day.” He did not provide details on the daily losses at Twitter and said employees who lost their jobs were offered three months' pay as severance.
(With inputs from AP)
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