Twitter Halts Plans to Institute Subscription Model for Verification Check Marks Until After U.S. Election Day

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Twitter has delayed plans to introduce changes to its verification system, which would allow users to obtain verification check marks as part of a $7.99 per month subscription, until after the midterm elections Tuesday.

According to the New York Times, the company made the decision the day after its official announcement of the monthly fee model. The paid verification system will be introduced as an element of the website’s subscription service, Twitter Blue.

“Power to the people,” the company’s original announcement said. “Your account will get a blue check mark, just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.”

The planned changes to the verification system have been met by strong criticism from users, experts and company employees, particularly for their potential to exacerbate the spread of misinformation in final hours ahead of the midterm elections on Tuesday. Twitter first introduced verified accounts in 2009; the check mark serves as a visual signifier to show that significant users, such as celebrities, politicians and news organizations, are authentic — not fake or parody accounts.

The verification subscription model has been one of several changes for the platform announced by Elon Musk, who dissolved Twitter’s board of directors after completing a $44 billion buyout of the company. On Friday, Musk laid off about half of the social media corporation’s employees, totaling roughly 3,700 jobs. The executive defended the decision, stating that he had “no choice” and citing the company’s high burn rate and a need to repay the $13 billion in debt raised for Musk to complete the takeover.

From Variety US