Twitter usernames engaging in impersonation will be permanently suspended, Musk says

Twitter recently laid off 50 per cent of its employees. PHOTO: NYTIMES

SAN FRANCISCO – Mr Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday that any Twitter handles or usernames engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying parody will be permanently suspended without warning,” Mr Musk wrote in a Twitter post. 

“Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning,” he said.

This will be “clearly identified” as a condition for signing up to the company’s paid subscription service Twitter Blue, Mr Musk said. He added that any name change at all will cause temporary loss of a verified check mark. 

Several users who impersonated Mr Musk’s Twitter handle, including comedian Kathy Griffin and former National Football League player Chris Kluwe, have since had their accounts suspended.

Mr Musk has said Twitter will create a content moderation council composed of representatives with “widely divergent views”.

Meanwhile, Twitter is delaying the roll-out of verification check marks to subscribers of its new service, which costs US$8 (S$11) a month, until after Tuesday’s midterm elections, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The United States midterm elections will decide whether Republicans or President Joe Biden’s Democrats will control Congress.

Changes to Twitter’s verification process came a week after Mr Musk took over the social media company in a US$44 billion deal. On Saturday, Twitter updated its app in Apple’s App Store to begin charging US$8 for blue check verification marks.

Twitter recently laid off 50 per cent of its staff, including employees on the trust and safety team, global head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth said in a tweet earlier this week.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Mr Musk has directed Twitter’s teams to find up to US$1 billion in annual infrastructure cost savings. REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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