Twitter Blue is currently missing from the iPhone app’s menu rail. On iPads, it’s still there, except clicking on the option to subscribe returns an error. One of Engadget’s editors tried it out on his iPad and got a notification that says it will be available in his country in the future, even though he’s in the US, which is one of the service’s launch locations. Twitter has yet to announce why Blue is acting up, but according to a reverse app engineer Jane Manchun Wong, the in-app purchase for Twitter Blue verification is no longer listed for production. One of her followers said they paid for a subscription and got verified, but now their blue checkmark has gone missing.
The Washington Post and Zoe Schiffer of Platformer reported Monday that they had viewed internal Slack messages in which Twitter personnel confirmed they had suspended the launch of Twitter Blue “to help address impersonation issues.” Schiffer continued in a thread that Twitter did indeed make Twitter Blue undiscoverable on the web, and has also prevented signups through the iOS app. The “official” label is currently reserved for advertisers, but existing Blue subscribers will otherwise continue to have access to the features they paid for.
It’s been chaos and mayhem since Twitter launched its $8 Blue subscription service. Its main draw at the moment is instant verification, and people quickly latched onto the idea that it can be used to create parody or fake accounts that look legitimate. A fake Nintendo of America account tweeted a photo of Mario giving everyone the middle finger, for instance, while a fake Valve account posted about a new competitive platform.
Twitter went on a banning spree to get rid of the inauthentic accounts, and it ultimately decided to block new users from being able to sign up for Blue. In addition, the website rolled out its “Official” gray checkmarks to select notable accounts and public figures earlier. Twitter pulled back these “Official” labels after a faulty initial release with the intention of verifying government and commercial entities first. But the company’s Support account announced that it’s doling them out again in an effort to combat impersonation.
In addition to dealing with impersonators and fake accounts, Twitter employees — those left behind mass layoffs, anyway — also have internal drama to think of. Chief information security officer Lea Kissner, chief privacy officer Damien Kieran and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty have all reportedly quit the company. Elon Musk, the company’s new owner, also told remaining employees that Twitter is losing so much money that “bankruptcy is not out of the question.”
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