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Twitter restores ‘official’ label; $8 blue check mark option disappears

Twitter restores 'official' label;  $8 blue check mark option disappears
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Nov 11 (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s Twitter Inc returned the “official” badge to some accounts on Friday, just days after deleting it, as several users reported the new opt-in option for the blue check mark was gone.

The move follows a surge in fake accounts on the platform after new boss Elon Musk allowed users to pay $8 for the coveted blue checkmark that was previously reserved for verified accounts of politicians, actors and other VIPs.

Fake accounts from several big brands have surfaced with the blue check, including Musk’s Tesla. (TSLA.O) and SpaceX, as well as Roblox, Nestle (NESN.S) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N).

“To combat phishing, we’ve added an ‘Official’ tag to some accounts,” Twitter’s support account, which has the “official” tag, tweeted Friday. Musk tweeted on Wednesday that he had “killed” the new label, just hours after launching it.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY.N) issued an apology after an impostor account tweeted that insulin would be free, amid political backlash and scrutiny of the medicine’s high prices.

“We apologize to those who received a misleading message from a fake Lilly account,” the company said, reiterating the name of its Twitter account.

Among other examples, a series of misleading tweets about Tesla from a verified account with the same profile picture as the company’s official account circulated on the platform.

“Twitter has been working for the last couple of years to try and improve that (misinformation). And it looks like Elon Musk has figured it out in a matter of weeks,” said AJ Bauer, a professor at the University of Alabama.

Musk had said that Twitter users who engage in phishing without clearly specifying it as a “parody” account will be permanently suspended without notice. Various fake brand accounts, including those of Nintendo. (7974.T) and BP, have been suspended.

Meanwhile, many users said the option to sign up for Twitter Blue, the subscription service that comes with blue check verification, was gone.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Earlier in the day, Musk said his companies will be well positioned in 2023 despite the possibility of a tough economy.

Musk’s tweet came a day after he mentioned the possibility of Twitter being spoiled. In his first company-wide email, Musk warned that Twitter might not “survive the next economic downturn” if it fails to grow subscription revenue to offset falling ad revenue, three people who viewed the email told Reuters. message.

Many companies, including General Motors (GM.N) and United Airlines (UAL.O)to have pause or withdrew from advertising on the platform after Musk took over. In response, the billionaire said Wednesday that his goal was to turn Twitter into a force for truth and stop fake accounts.

Information from Nivedita Balu and Shivani Tanna in Bengaluru; Edited by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Devika Syamnath

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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