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Elon Musk Relaunches Twitter Blue

The new boss of Twitter suspended the subscription service on November 11.
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The suspension will last a total of 18 days. 

Elon Musk announced on November 15 that Twitter Blue will be available again on November 29. 

This subscription service offered by the platform is one of the very first products on which the billionaire has focused his efforts since the acquisition of Twitter on October 27.

He had increased the price of Blue to $7.99 per month by integrating the account authentication option which was free until his arrival. This feature, represented by a check mark or a blue badge, aims to confirm that the person behind an account is who they say they are. Basically it is a confirmation that the identity of the account owner has been verified. 

Musk had decided to integrate this check mark into Blue to combat spam bots, or fake accounts, which post misinformation, hateful, racist and bullying comments on the platform. His reasoning is that people or institutions running bot farms will be deterred by the cost of Blue. It would cost $800,000 per month to manage 100,000 fake accounts, for example.

Impersonators

But he underestimated impersonators, which are people who pretend to be someone else. Soon after the rollout of Blue on November 9, many fake accounts posing as companies and celebrities appeared on the platform. These accounts had been authenticated with the blue check mark. 

Tesla's  (TSLA) - Get Free Report fake account posted jokes about the vehicle maker's safety record. A fake Eli Lilly  (LLY) - Get Free Report account posted that insulin was now free. The pharmaceutical giant had to apologize. 

Another fake account from defense group Lockheed Martin  (LMT) - Get Free Report sent a message saying: "We will begin halting all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States, until further investigation into their record of human rights abuses. #WeAreLM>"

Initially to combat impersonators, Musk left the "official" badge in the bios of high-profile accounts like institutions, celebrities and brands. The billionaire then announced that he "killed" this feature. 

But faced with a flood of impersonators and the mass withdrawal of brands which have suspended the promotion of their products and services on the platform, Musk brought back the grey tag.  

That was not enough to discourage the impersonators. The serial entrepreneur finally decided to suspend new signups for Twitter Blue. The option to sign up for Blue disappeared on the iOS app.

'Rock Solid'

Blue will be available again in two weeks, Musk tweeted.

"Punting relaunch of Blue Verified to November 29th to make sure that it is rock solid," the billionaire said.

Musk warned that "with new release, changing your verified name will cause loss of checkmark until name is confirmed by Twitter to meet terms of service."

"Will there be more labels in the 'Official' vein, for celebs etc?" a Twitter user asked him.

"Hard to say who’s celeb & who isn’t. Being able to sort by follower count & disallowing deliberate impersonation probably solves this," Musk responded.

He also said that "what will matter in the future is how many verified followers you have."

Musk indicated that former blue badge holders have a "few months" to switch to Blue or lose the check mark. 

"All unpaid legacy Blue checkmarks will be removed in a few months," he said.

Blue is an important piece in Musk's strategy to rebalance Twitter's revenue from advertising to subscriptions. Currently over 91% of the firm's revenue is generated by advertising. 

Many advertisers want to see what direction Musk is giving to Twitter's content management policy. The techno king is defined as a "free speech absolutist." This means that he considers any tweet to be acceptable as long as it doesn't violate the law.