Twitter on Wednesday unveiled — then promptly canceled — a gray new “official” tag for some high-profile accounts as Elon Musk struggles to revamp the influential platform after his $44 billion purchase.
“I just killed him,” Musk tweeted just hours after adding the new tag to government accounts as well as those of major corporations and major media.
Explaining the shift, the world’s richest man added: “Please note that Twitter will do a lot of stupid things in the coming months. We’ll keep what works and change what doesn’t.”
The sudden change of heart will bring more scrutiny of Musk’s Twitter plans a week after he laid off thousands of workers and caused a massive drop in spending for advertisers, who are wary of the site’s direction.
The failed launch came ahead of the highly anticipated introduction of a revamped subscription model in which the site’s iconic blue checkmark would be made available for a fee of $7.99, though Musk also said the price would be adjusted by country.
The blue tick was a sign of the authenticity of the account and there was suspicion that public figures or the media would pay for it. Observers saw the official gray flag as a workaround to solve this problem.
The launch of the new official branding began on Wednesday and has been on the accounts of companies such as Apple or BMW, public companies such as the White House and major media outlets.
But after only a few hours, many of them disappeared.
accounts belong to France Press agencyAnd the BBC News, Pope Francis or controversial rapper Kanye West who received the “official” badge, witnessed the disappearance of the badge.
A lot of work
Esther Crawford, the executive who announced the gray label idea on Tuesday, insisted the official naming will still be part of the relaunch, but that “we’re only focused on government and commercial entities initially.”
During a panel for advertisers broadcast on Twitter, Musk exercised some damage control, admitting that a lot of work lies ahead to get the site where it wants to be.
“We have a lot to do in software. I can’t stress that enough,” he said.
Musk took control of Twitter after a long and successive legal battle in which the mercurial tycoon tried to back out of a deal that many believe he overpaid for.
On Tuesday it emerged that Musk sold $4 billion worth of stock in Tesla to help pay off a deal in which he took out billions of dollars in debt.
The $7.99 subscription idea is seen as one way to cope with losing advertisers since Musk took over the company.
Twitter last week fired half of its 7,500 employees, which Musk said was necessary because the company was losing $4 million a day.