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Twitter pulls back on $8-a-month verified subscription service amid election concerns

The Twitter bird logo hangs on the side of the company’s office in San Francisco on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Saturday afternoon, a Twitter iOS update announced the launch of the new version of its verification system, where for a $7.99-a-month subscription anyone can purchase a blue check next to their name. The New York Times is reporting that a day later, on Sunday, Twitter made the decision to delay the roll out until Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The delay comes after employees expressed concern that the for-pay subscription model creates the potential for accounts to impersonate politicians or other high-profile figures ahead of Tuesday’s election.

In addition, roughly half the workforce has now been laid off, according to reporting from the New York Times that includes four unnamed sources with inside knowledge of the company. Twitter had 7,500 employees when new CEO Elon Musk took over last week.

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has weighed in on the company’s massive layoffs for the first time since Musk took control and cleaned house.

Jack Dorsey, the then-CEO of Twitter and co-founder and CEO of Square, speaks during the cryptocurrency conference Bitcoin 2021 Convention at the Mana Convention Center in Miami, Florida, on June 4, 2021. | Marco Bello AFP via Getty Images

“I grew the company size too quickly,” Dorsey wrote in a Tweet to his nearly 6.5 million followers. “I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation.”

Musk has already made drastic changes in his one week at the helm, spurring criticism and consternation and prompting potential legal challenges for the new CEO.

“I am grateful for, and love, everyone who has ever worked at Twitter,” Dorsey continued. “I don’t expect that to be mutual in this moment…or ever…and I understand.”