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On-again, off-again Twitter subscription service to be relaunched

NEW YORK (AFP) – After several false starts, Twitter announced it would relaunch its subscription service next week, including a system for authenticating accounts on the platform.

“We’re relaunching @TwitterBlue today – subscribe on web for USD8/month or on (Apple’s) iOS for USD11/month to get access to subscriber-only features, including the blue checkmark,” the company tweeted.

A blue checkmark on an account, which indicates it has been verified by Twitter, was previously free but reserved for organisations and public figures in an attempt to avoid impersonation and misinformation.

After buying Twitter in October, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk announced his intention to diversify the company’s revenue stream beyond advertising, turning to new paying formulas for premium features.

A first version was launched 10 days after Musk took control in early November, but it caused an uproar when many fake accounts popped up pretending to be celebrities or companies. The version was quickly suspended.

Under the new offer, accounts seeking blue checkmarks will again be reviewed by Twitter, the company said. The checkmark will become gold for businesses and, later in the week, grey for government organisations, it added.

Subscribers will also be able to access functions such as one to edit tweets after they are published and another to download higher quality videos.

“Thanks for your patience as we’ve worked to make Blue better,” the company tweet said.

Musk promised the return of Twitter Blue by the end of November before indicating a few days later that the project had been postponed indefinitely, as experts sought to develop a system to prevent impersonation.

A pedestrian looks toward a sign at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. PHOTO: AP

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