Elon Musk, the world’s richest person and new Twitter boss, has warned that Kenyans On Twitter (KOT) running parody accounts risk being suspended.
Musk on Monday, November 7 announced that Twitter handles that will be found impersonating individuals without indicating that it is a parody will be permanently suspended, without warning.
“Previously, we issued a warning before the suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue,” he emphasised.
One of the victims of the new directive was American comedian Kathy Graffin who lost her account for impersonating Elon Musk. Griffin had changed her name to Elon Musk and used it to incite people to vote for Democrats in Tuesday’s Midterm elections.
Clearing the air, Musk stated that she was actually suspended from Twitter for impersonating a comedian. He however promised that she would get her account back, but at a cost of Ksh953.
The new Twitter owner warned verified users that in the event they change their name, they would lose the blue badge temporarily.
On being asked whether pseudonyms would be allowed on Twitter in the future, Elon Musk responded, “No problem to use a pseudonym. The high-level principle is just that verified users can’t engage in malicious deception.”
Musk also disclosed plans to turn the micro-blogging platform into an “accurate source of information about the world”, though his remarks were questioned by photographer Kyle Grantham who accused him of selling the badges to anyone who can afford them, thus increasing cases of misinformation on Twitter.
“And to do this, I’ll let anyone to gives me money appear to be a legitimate source of news, rather than just ensuring all legitimate sources of news are confirmed to be who they say they are,” he said.
Musk rebutted by accusing him of being part of the issue of journalists being the only credible sources of information, saying “You represent the problem. Journalists who think they are the only source of legitimate information. That’s the big lie.”
When Twitter founder and former CEO, Jack Dorsey, asked who would determine the accuracy of the information disseminated on the social media platform, Musk said, “As judged by the people of Twitter via Community Notes (formerly Birdwatch).”
He also unveiled his plan of democratising journalism and empowering people through widespread verification, which can be obtained by paying Ksh971.60 (US$8) per month (Ksh11,659.2 per year) in the near future.
Musk had previously disclosed that verified users enrolled in the monthly subscription service will get priority in replies, mentions and searches, which is essential to defeating spam/scams. They will also have the ability to post long videos and audio and will get half as many adverts.
There will also be a paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with the social media platform.
“This will also give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators,” he added.
Musk also announced that there will be a secondary tag below the name of someone who is a public figure, which is already the case for politicians.