Twitter will delay its new blue check subscription rollout until after Tuesday’s midterms amid concerns of election misinformation that would be caused by the new plan, the New York Times reported Sunday.
“We’ve made the decision to move the launch of this release to Nov. 9, after the election,” a manager working on the rollout wrote on an internal Slack channel, according to the Times. The worker was reportedly responding to a staffer who asked Saturday why the social media platform was “making such a risky change before elections, which has the potential of causing election interference.”
The move backtracks the launch $7.99 per month subscription on Saturday, which Twitter owner Elon Musk touted as having “half the ads,” as a bonus for Twitter Blue subscribers, as well as added features including the ability to post longer videos and “priority ranking for quality content.”
The communications team for Twitter did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
NBC News’ Ben Collins shared concerns from former Twitter employees Friday about the misinformation that could spread on the app ahead of Tuesday’s election day.
“On Monday, anybody can maybe buy a verification badge,” he said, referring to the original intention of the “blue check,” which was to thoroughly vet a user and verify they were who they said they were before giving them the mark. “You could go and pose as anybody: an election official, a public figure, whatever, and they’ve cut the moderation staff so severely that there’s no way they’re gonna catch up in time for these lies.”
Despite varying reports of how many employees on the content moderation were impacted by the layoffs, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s Head of Safety & Integrity, said only 15% of the Trust & Safety organization were laid off.
He also admitted the company “restricted access” to content moderation tools last week for “security reasons” and noted the access will be restored in the “coming days.” While Roth said “most of the 2,000+ content moderators working on front-line review were not impacted,” Bloomberg reported last week that only 15 employees had access to the tools.
The new verification plan is just one of the sweeping changes Musk has made to the social media platform since he took over control of the company just over a week ago.
Despite laying off approximately 50% of the company Friday morning, Platformer’s Casey Newton reported Saturday that Twitter has begun asking laid-off staffers to return to their positions, which Bloomberg confirmed, adding that the company was reaching out to “dozens of employees” who lost their jobs.