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News - November 10, 2022

5 Features Elon Musk is Adding to Twitter

Days after the official $44 billion takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk, the wealthiest man in the world, through his tweets and actions, revealed some of the features he wants to add and his plans for the microblogging platform.

This resulted in speculations that eventually led to the layoff of about 50% of the company’s workforce and the restructuring of Twitter’s physical and online structures. With the restructuring and unpredictable move of the company, multinational companies that made up 90% of Twitter’s revenue stream suspended their adverts despite his attempts to reassure them that the platform’s operation and focus were still the same.

While some people commend his leadership style, the new developments have garnered reactions from different people and organisations. Despite this, Musk continues to reveal some of the structural adjustments he is making to the platform. Let’s look at some of the features Elon Musk is adding to Twitter.

Verification system revamp

A change in Twitter’s verification model was one of the first features Elon Musk announced through his tweet. Apart from changing the initial idea behind the blue verification mark, an increase in subscription charges was also introduced. According to his tweet, the new blue verification mark will now cost $7.99 per month.

The price adjustment will be based on countries’ purchasing power parity. He said the new system will have “fewer ads, priority in replies (something which verified handles get through the “Verified” notification channel), mentions and search, and the ability to post longer videos.”

Anyone that pays the new fee of $8 for Twitter’s premium service will receive Twitter Blue, making it more of a Twitter Blue badge than a verification mark. Since this renders the verification blue mark redundant, Twitter launched another mark called the “official account”. It has a checkmark and the words “official account” beside it.

Esther Crawford, Twitter product executive, revealed that the new mark would soon be applied to selected accounts, cannot be purchased, and will not be automatically given to previously verified accounts.

She said, “Not all previously verified accounts will get the ‘Official’ label, which is unavailable for purchase. Accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures.”

This leaves Twitter with three types of users: Twitter Blue subscribers with a blue checkmark (the old verified mark); accounts with an “official” label, replacing the old verification mark; and accounts without either mark.

Increase in subscription cost based on region

While the new Twitter Blue plan costs $8 in the U.S., Elon Musk said that the price adjustment would be based on countries’ purchasing power parity. This move will see Twitter launch into a new market, such as India. Based on this, in his tweet, he said revamped subscriptions would roll out in India hopefully in less than a month.

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Long text tweet feature

Despite the debut of the feature ‘Notes’ on the platform for long-form content, Elon Musk, in his tweet, said that the company is working on attaching long-form text to tweets to end the absurdity of notepad screenshots.

While the need for a replacement of the initially launched ‘Notes’ by a set of writers from the U.S., Canada, Ghana, and the U.K. is unknown, a Twitter employee, who was also laid off, pointed out that Musk fired the team who built and shipped the Notes feature.

A paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with Twitter

Another feature introduced to Twitter is discontinuing an ad-free experience for Twitter Blue subscribers. Initially, this feature gave Twitter Blue users access to over 300 US publishers, such as L.A. Times, Reuters and The Atlantic, through a deal known as free articles.

From the memo released, “In the course of this work, we have decided to discontinue Ad-free Articles, effective as of the close of business today, October 31, 2022. This hard decision will allow us to focus our resources on adding additional value for our members. Expect to hear more from us soon,” the email read.

We will stop displaying the “Twitter Blue Publisher” label on any tweets containing your articles. We will no longer be sending a Twitter Blue token when people on Twitter access articles from your properties. This will prevent the ad-free experience on your site from loading.”

However, Musk said that he wants to build “a paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with us.” The move, according to him, will give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators.

Change name from ‘Birdwatch’ to ‘Community Notes’

Musk tweeted his plans to change Twitter’s crowdsourced fact-checking program name from Birdwatch to Community Notes. Elon Musk’s decision prompted a conversation between the new owner and the founder of Twitter: Jack Dorsey.

This led to a back-and-forth thread between the two. The latter argued that the name does not fit the platform’s feature that allows users to write contextual notes on misleading tweets. However, Musk retweeted his mission for the platform. Musk said he wants the platform to “become the most accurate source of information about the world.” To which Dorsey replied, “accurate to who?”

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