Mr. Musk was also enthusiastic about charging for account verification, denoted by a blue check mark, saying that the $8 monthly fee would raise the cost of creating a fake account so that fraudsters eventually “will stop trying.” He likened content produced by unverified accounts to the sort of emails that end up in the spam folder — viewable but not as easily available — and that people will end up looking largely at Twitter’s verified accounts.
More on Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover
To address concerns that paying for verification can cause confusion if some people pretend to be who they aren’t, Mr. Musk cautioned that Twitter “will actively suspend accounts engaged in deception or trickery.” He described the system as “a leveling of the playing field,” a departure from “the lords and peasants situation where some people have blue check marks and some don’t.”
Advertisers were not exempt, he said, though he added that if they really didn’t want to pay, “I’ll pay for them.”
A separate verification mark, a gray badge that was rolled out to major media, corporate and government organizations, appeared briefly and then disappeared on Wednesday after Mr. Musk tweeted that he “killed it.” On Wednesday’s call, he said the mark was “an aesthetic nightmare” and also “simply another way of creating a two-class system.”
Mr. Musk spoke about trying to make ads on Twitter more relevant to users while also protecting advertisers — who provide about 90 percent of the company’s revenue — from hate speech and misinformation. He said the best way for companies to understand how Twitter was addressing concerns about brand safety was to continue to use the platform.
“I understand if people wanted to kind of, you know, give it a minute and kind of see how things are evolving,” he said when asked by Robin Wheeler, Twitter’s new head of ad sales, about an advertising pullback by companies such as General Mills and United Airlines. “Actually, we’ve been more rigorous about clamping down on bad content and bots and trolls, not less. So my observation of Twitter over the past few weeks is that the content is actually improving.”
He added that he also planned to push “Community Notes,” an “epic” feature previously known as Birdwatch that lets users add context to tweets. Mr. Musk said it will help improve accuracy on the platform and reduce the need for content rules, a belief that many misinformation researchers do not share.
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