NEW YORK (AP) – Twitter on Saturday launched a $ 8 / month subscription service that includes a blue checkmark now given to verified accounts.

In an Apple iOS device update, Twitter said users who “sign up now” could get a blue checkmark next to their names “just like celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.”

The change marks the end of the current Twitter verification system that was launched in 2009 to prevent the impersonation of famous people such as celebrities and politicians. Prior to the renovation, Twitter had approximately 423,000 verified accounts, many of them a string of journalists from around the world, who were verified by the company regardless of the number of followers.

Experts have raised concerns about upgrading the platform’s verification system, which, while not perfect, has helped 238 million daily Twitter users determine whether the accounts they received information from were genuine.

Twitter’s update to the iOS version of its app makes no mention of verification under the new “blue checking” system.

This is the day after the company began laying off workers to cut costs, and more and more companies are pausing Twitter ads as the cautious corporate world waits to see how it will operate under new owner Elon Musk.

About half of the company’s 7,500 employees have been made redundant, Yoel Roth, head of security and integrity on Twitter, tweeted.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey took the blame on Saturday for such widespread job losses. He had two runs as the CEO of Twitter, the last of which stretched from 2015 to 2021.

“I am responsible for why everyone finds themselves in this position: I have grown the size of the company too quickly,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’m sorry for this.”

Musk tweeted late Friday that he had no choice but to cut jobs “when the company is losing more than $ 4 million a day.” He did not provide details of the daily losses at the company and said that employees who lost their jobs were offered a three-month salary as a severance pay.

Meanwhile, Twitter has already seen “a huge drop in revenue” due to pressure from activist groups on advertisers to leave the platform, Musk tweeted on Friday. This hits hard on Twitter due to its dependence on advertising to make money so far. In the first six months of this year, nearly $ 92 of every $ 100 of revenue received came from advertising.

United Airlines has become the latest major brand to pause Twitter advertising. He confirmed on Saturday that he had made a move but declined to discuss the reasons for what or what he should see in order to resume the ad on the platform.

Other major companies withholding Twitter ads include General Motors, REI, General Mills, and Audi.

Musk tried to reassure advertisers last week, saying Twitter won’t become “all-free hell” because of what he calls his commitment to free speech.

However, concerns remain as to whether a lighter touch on Twitter content moderation will cause users to send more offensive tweets. It can hurt the brands of companies if their ads appear next to them.

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