Elon Musk said on Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different coloured check marks to accounts next week, in a new move to revamp the service after a previous attempt backfired.
It's the latest change to the social media platform that the billionaire Tesla CEO bought last month for $44bn, coming a day after Musk said he would grant "amnesty" for suspended accounts and causing yet more uncertainty for users, reports Al Jazeera.
Twitter previously suspended the premium service, which under Musk granted blue-check labels to anyone paying $8 a month, because of a wave of impostor accounts. Originally, the blue check was given to government entities, corporations, celebrities and journalists verified by the platform to prevent impersonation.
In the latest version, companies will get a gold check, governments will get a grey check, and individuals who pay for the service, whether or not they're celebrities, will get a blue check, Musk said on Friday.
"All verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates," he said, adding it was "painful, but necessary" and promising a "longer explanation" next week. He said the service was "tentatively launching" on 2 December.
Twitter had put the revamped premium service on hold days after its launch earlier this month after accounts impersonated companies including pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co, Nintendo, Lockheed Martin and even Musk's own businesses Tesla and SpaceX, along with various professional sports and political figures.
The reinstated premium service is just one of several key changes to the platform in the past two days. On Thursday, Musk said he would grant "amnesty" for suspended accounts, following the results of an online poll he conducted on whether accounts that have not "broken the law or engaged in egregious spam" should be reinstated.
The "yes" vote was 72 percent. Such online polls are anything but scientific and can easily be influenced by bots. Musk also used one before restoring former US President Donald Trump's account.
"The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei," Musk tweeted Thursday using a Latin phrase meaning "the voice of the people, the voice of God."
The move is likely to put the company on a crash course with European regulators seeking to clamp down on harmful online content with tough new rules, which helped cement Europe's reputation as the global leader in efforts to rein in the power of social media companies and other digital platforms.