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Elon Musk Implements Multiple Changes To Twitter

April 1st marked the official deadline for verified Twitter users to pay for Twitter Blue in order to keep their blue check mark verification with their account. 

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Many celebrities and news organizations have vowed to not pay for Twitter Blue to maintain their verification. While many legacy verification accounts still have their check marks, the system has begun removing them from accounts without a subscription to the paid service. 

LeBron James, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The White House are just a handful of verified accounts that have made public statements about their refusal to pay for the service; The New York Times has since lost its checkmark. 

No one working for Twitter had planned for a mass deletion of verifications, so removing the legacy verifications may take a while, as employees need to remove each one manually. 

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In Twitter’s new “For You” section, the platform has updated the way it ranks content within the section. Developers have begun identifying certain accounts as Democrat or Republican as a means of teaching whether algorithm changes were affecting one group disproportionately over another. 

Musk’s own Twitter account has its own special type of coding that many users have reported making it so his tweets are more widely viewed by users on the platform. 

Apart from these changes, many users have also noticed that Twitter is making content with certain words harder to see, such as “trans” or “transgender,” with users reporting that when tweets containing those words are sent to a user via direct message, the message won’t preview the tweet in the new messages section. 

This type of “shadow banning” for certain words are causing users to speak out against the changes, stating they’ve been put in place to limit just how much free speech users are actually allowed to have on the platform. 

Elon Musk Has Plans For Twitter As The Company’s Largest Shareholder

The richest man in the world, Elon Musk, has become Twitter’s largest shareholder with a 9.2% stake in the company. Musk immediately took to Twitter to announce some of his plans for the social media site.

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Twitter Researching New ‘Twitter Blue’ Paid Premium Service 

Twitter is currently in talks to launch a paid subscription service called Twitter Blue, according to unreleased features of the app discovered by independent researcher, Jane Machum Wong. Wong has previously made a name for herself online for uncovering upcoming tech projects involving popular social media apps. 

Wong shared screenshots of the service on her Twitter, which shows that the premium service will cost $2.99 a month. 

If this service does come into existence, planned features would include the ability to save and organize tweets into specific collections, which expands on Twitter’s current bookmark feature which organizes your saved tweets chronologically. 

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The service would also come up with an “undo tweet” button, which would allow users to prevent a tweet from being sent for a few seconds after posting; similar features currently exist in certain email services such as Gmail. 

Twitter has been relatively open about the fact that they’ve been inquiring about starting a premium paid service. Back in January the social media platform bought Revue, a newsletter provider that allows users to write and publish subscription emails. 

Earlier this month it purchased Scroll, a subscription service that removes any advertisements from news sites. Scroll’s former chief executive, Tony Haile, confirmed that Twitter acquired the company as a part of their plan to “integrate into a broader Twitter subscription later in the year.” 

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Wong believes that besides Twitter Blue, the company will likely begin exploiting more expensive tiers in their subscription services. 

“Twitter is also working on a tiered subscription pricing model, with one tier having more paid features than the other. For example, users on higher-priced tiers could enjoy premium experiences, such as clutter-free news reading experience.”

After Apple rolled out an update for their mobile devices that allows users to deny an app access to tracking their activity for advertising purposes, Twitter and other social media platforms have been exploring other means of bringing in revenue. Advertising is the main way these apps make money, especially considering Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. are all free to download and use. 

Only 4% of iPhone users have reportedly opted to allow app tracking to continue with the new feature, despite Twitter telling it;s investors that the feature would only have a “modest impact” on revenue. Only time will tell how successful Twitter Blue will actually be and if users will be willing to pay for an app that they’ve had access to for over a decade for free.