Today is apparently the day Twitter Blue comes back. Reuters reported that subscriptions would be available for purchase sometime Friday on the Apple App Store for $11 and on the web for $7.
This was confirmed in an email sent to advertisers on Thursday, reviewed by Reuters, announcing some new Twitter Blue security features and advertiser controls. The email informed advertisers that individuals would be able to purchase blue checks, while verified businesses would be differentiated by gold checks and government accounts by gray checks.
The purpose of the email was partly to reassure advertisers that the Twitter Blue impersonation scandal is actually over and partly to announce new controls that will allow advertisers to prevent brand ads from appearing “above or below tweets containing certain keywords,” it reported. Reuters.
However, advertisers may not be as easy to bring back to the platform. While Musk has worked to convince advertisers that Twitter is a safe place to run ads, three members of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council — Eirliani Abdul Rahman, Anne Collier, and Lesley Podesta — resigned today. Their letter stated, “Contrary to Elon Musk’s claims, the safety and well-being of Twitter users is declining.” They pointed to reported spikes in hate speech, Musk’s reinstatement of banned accounts, and the reduction in content moderation staff as reasons for moving away from the platform.
“A Twitter ruled by dictate is no place for us,” their letter reads, claiming that Musk has not acknowledged the council – which in 2019 included more than 40 experts and organizations – since he took over.
Twitter was not immediately available for comment. According to Reuters, Musk told advertisers he may be addressing at least one of the outgoing council members’ main complaints: how content moderation teams are currently staffed.
A Twitter insider told Reuters that a Twitter representative told advertisers on Thursday that “the platform was considering bringing in its content moderators, many of whom are contracted through third-party vendors.”
Bringing content moderation entirely in-house will allow Twitter to address reported gaps in the platform’s child safety team following staff cuts abroad, by enabling the platform to “invest more in moderation for non-English languages,” a source told me. to Reuters.
Twitter’s new trust and security chief scrutinized
Twitter’s new head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, contradicted reports in comments to Reuters that staff cuts affected Twitter’s child safety team. She also confirmed that Twitter would rely more on automatically removing content.
Irwin has been recently active on Twitter, in response to tweets from concerned Twitter users. She was also swept up in the ‘Twitter Files’ discourse back then Twitter users took notice that the screenshots of Twitter’s internal tool shared in journalist Bari Weiss’ “secret blacklist” thread were watermarked with Irwin’s information.
Twitter users became alarmed, some concerned that Weiss might have accessed the internal tool via Irwin’s login and might have access to read direct messages. Some suggested this would violate the Stored Communications Act, but Berkeley Law professor noted Orin Kerr that even if Weiss had access, it could be considered an exception since her access was authorized “by the person or entity providing a wire or electronic communications service”.
Irwin tweeted to clarify that Weiss did not have access to the internal tool in the screenshots she shared, and thus did not have access to direct messages or other personally identifiable information.
“For security reasons, the requested screenshots came from me so we could make sure no PII was released,” Irwin tweeted. “We didn’t give this access to reporters, and no, reporters didn’t have access to user DMs.”
However, not every Twitter user was convinced that they could trust these messages from Irwin. Tech reporter Tom McKay thanked Irwin for her transparency, but then Irwin stopped responding when he asked her what a “Twitter Files” journalist, Abigail Shrier, meant when she tweeted“Our team was given extensive, unfiltered access to Twitter’s internal communications and systems.”
With the first two episodes focusing on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal and blacklisted right-wing accounts, the release of “Twitter Files” seems designed specifically to attract some of the right-wing influencers whose accounts Musk has recently reinstated. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey seemed to criticize Musk for focusing on making Twitter’s past more transparent, but less transparent about Twitter decisions currently being made.
“If the goal is transparency to build trust, why not just release everything without a filter and let people judge for themselves?” Dorsey tweeted. “Including all discussions around current and future actions? Make everything public now.”
Musk recently said he plans to make Twitter more transparent by clarifying when the platform has limited the reach of an account’s tweets.
“Twitter is working on a software update that will show your real account status, so you’ll know clearly if you’ve been shadow banned, why, and how to appeal.” Musk tweeted.
While Musk is busy pushing Twitter engineers to go “hardcore”, installing potentially code-violating bedrooms in Twitter headquarters, bringing back Twitter Blue, and making deals with advertisers, it will likely be the task of Irwin for Musk’s promises of even more transparency. Maybe she’ll even help you keep going Musk’s promise to publish weekly data On @TwitterSafety.