Twitter is reportedly delaying the rollout of verification checkmarks for followers as the social network tries to avoid a possible impact on Tuesday’s midterm elections.
The Elon Musk-owned social media company had planned to roll out the revamped version of its subscription service, Twitter Blue, on Monday. The company began testing the new features on Saturday, according to an app update note.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The reported decision to delay the rollout of verification badges comes just days before the US midterm elections, with polls ending Nov. 8. The New York Times reports that the move was intended to limit potential fallout from verified users posing as political or government figures. , such as President Biden, or news outlets that claim bogus results that may discourage others from voting.
Jen Easterly, director of CISA, the US government agency responsible for overseeing election security and protecting voting infrastructure, said last week that the agency had found “no credible or specific information about the efforts disruption or compromise,” but warned of the ongoing risks posed by disinformation campaigns sown by foreign actors aimed at undermining trust in the electoral system.
Security experts like Chris Krebs, the former CISA director who was fired by President Trump for refuting false allegations of voter fraud, warned that Twitter’s new verification rules would be a “major risk” ahead of the midterm elections.
As of this writing, several verified users are impersonating Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, despite the risk of having their accounts suspended for impersonation.
The revamped Twitter Blue, which will cost $7.99 per month in the US, includes a range of new features, including the coveted blue tick for anyone who subscribes, as well as reducing the number of ads that are broadcast to them on the platform.
Musk is betting on turning the subscription service into a major revenue stream for Twitter, which he acquired last month for $44 billion. Musk funded $13 billion for the purchase from banks and has to pay more than $1 billion a year in interest payments.
The company began cutting costs earlier this week, laying off about half of its workforce, or about 3,700 jobs.
In a series of tweets earlier this weekend, Musk claimed the company’s revamped Twitter Blue “can beat” the ad revenue YouTube offers creators, and was also working on fixing the search feature. on Twitter.
Twitter will also soon allow users to attach long texts to tweets, he said. Twitter plans to roll out the revamped Twitter Blue to subscribers in many markets in the coming months. In response to a tweet, Musk said he hoped Twitter Blue would roll out to users in India “in less than a month.”