A few days ago, new Twitter owner Elon Musk said that the company will try a lot of dumb things in the coming days. And that seems to be the product strategy of the company — even if it causes utter chaos all around.
It’s a tough time for anyone keeping tabs on changes at the social network because anything can flip anytime without warning. Blinked a few times? Something has changed. Went to make coffee? A lot has changed. Went to sleep? Welcome to a new world.
Earlier this week, Twitter launched its grey-colored official checkmark for notable accounts like companies and politicians. This was meant to be a second layer of identification after Musk declared that everyone paying $8 a month will get the original blue check mark. But within hours of the launch, he “killed it.”
On the other hand, the company’s product manager Esther Crawford clarified that the grey “Official” labels are “still going out” as a part of the new Twitter Blue product. As of this morning on Friday, The official check mark is back (kinda) — but to a limited number of accounts. There is no clarity on how this is being rolled out. Beat this plot, Christopher Nolan.
Then there is the new $8 Twitter Blue plan, which Musk thinks is the savior of Twitter (and possibly humanity). It began rolling out to iOS users in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. The only feature it currently has is the blue checkmark, and yes, new users can’t sign up for it.
After this was rolled out, a bunch of accounts started to troll brands, athletes and officials making it look like they are tweeting from official accounts. Despite several bans and blocks, many accounts are still spreading misinformation. A lot of these tweets are getting thousands of likes and retweets. Until now, we don’t know of any grave consequences, but this can cause a lot of damage. Only if Twitter had strong leaders in security, legal, comms and trust and safety teams.
Twitter has changed its policy about parody accounts saying that they should specify this in both their names and bio to avoid impersonation. Notably, the language used in these policy changes is crude and vague.
At the time of writing, Twitter seems to have turned off Twitter Blue subscriptions across the globe. As app researcher Jane Manchun Wong noted, the company is not letting users subscribe to this new plan. This could be a result of a premature rollout in countries like India, and it could also be another “killed it.” Maybe by the time you’re reading this, it might be available again; who knows?
There is a lot happening on Twitter at breakneck speed. New policy pages are popping up without corresponding features being available on the app. The company is probably rolling out changes to production directly from the development environment. Timelines are breaking. There are tons of bugs on the platform. Spam has increased. Musk has called off remote work and said the company could go bankrupt. Hoards of executives have left. But everything is fine, and Twitter is the most interesting place on earth.