Elon Musk defends his plans to “empower the people” on Twitter

Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California on October 28, 2022.
Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California on October 28, 2022 (Constanza HEVIA/AFP/Archives)

Criticized from all sides after an intense first week at the head of Twitter, Elon Musk defended tooth and nail his flagship projects this weekend, including the upcoming launch of a paid subscription for users wishing the famous blue authentication mark.

“Extended Verification to all will democratize journalism and empower the people,” he tweeted on Sunday.

The multi-billionaire is struggling to reassure associations, advertisers and even the United Nations, who fear a surge of hate speech and misinformation on the network, especially after he fired half of the group’s employees on Friday.

Until now, eligible accounts (governments, media, political and cultural figures, etc.) could obtain the addition of a blue tick to their profile, as a guarantee of authenticity.

As soon as he acquired Twitter ten days ago, the Tesla boss launched an overhaul of this system, so that everyone could obtain the famous badge, and other practical tools, by subscribing to “Twitter Blue” for 8 dollars per month.

On the iPhone, the social network’s mobile application already mentions the arrival of the new formula, but its launch has been postponed to Wednesday, the day after the US parliamentary elections, according to the New York Times.

“Power to the People: Your account will receive a blue tick, just like the celebrities, businesses and politicians you already follow,” Twitter now promises.

But for many observers, the certification of accounts must make it possible to guarantee the authenticity of exchanges on the platform. They fear in particular the eruption of fake certified accounts.

“Going forward, Twitter accounts that impersonate someone else, without clearly specifying ‘parody’, will be permanently suspended,” Elon Musk said on Sunday.

“Any name change will cause a temporary loss of the blue tick,” he added.

He also mentioned that pseudonyms were still allowed as long as they didn’t seek to “deceive with malicious intent”, and discussed creating a different brand for public figures.

“Twitter needs to become by far the most trusted source of news in the world. That’s our mission,” he said.

“And to do that, I’ll let anyone give me money to appear as a legitimate source of information, instead of ensuring that all legitimate sources of information are properly authenticated,” one user responded. .

“You illustrate the problem,” retorted Elon Musk. “Journalists who think they are the only legitimate source of information, that’s the big lie.”

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