Related video: FTC says Musk Is not ‘above the law’ with regards to violating user privacy rules

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Twitter Blue, the social media platform’s paid subscription model, has had a pretty turbulent time since tech billionaire Elon Musk finally took ownership of Twitter late last month – and now it seems to have disappeared entirely.

The model’s initial features included an ‘undo tweet’ tool, thread readers, custom navigation and customisable app icons, but on Wednesday Twitter users had the option to secure the coveted blue verification checkmark by paying $8 a month.

Decrying Twitter’s previous “lords and peasants system” for the blue badge, Musk tweeted that Twitter Blue would also see subscribers gain “priority in replies, mentions and search”, the ability to post longer videos and audio, “paywall bypass” from supported publishers and see “half as many ads” on the platform.

Yet things soon got confusing, as questions were soon asked around how individuals could tell the difference between those verified for being “notable” – such as celebrities and journalists – and who had paid $8 for the privilege.

Clarification around verification came on Tuesday, when Esther Crawford, who works on early stage products at Twitter, announced select accounts would be given an “official” label to distinguish between them and paid Twitter Blue subscribers.

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“Not all previously verified accounts will get the ‘Official’ label and the label is not available for purchase. Accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures,” she said.

The move was heavily mocked by users online, who pointed out that the ‘official’ label looks a lot like verification on top of the original verification.

If you’re getting a headache now, then wait until you hear what happened the next day, when Twitter Support said: “We’re not currently putting an ‘official’ label on accounts but we are aggressively going after impersonation and deception.”

OK, so all done and dusted? Back to normal?

Not really.

On Friday, they announced the ‘official’ label was coming back to certain accounts after all.

“To combat impersonation, we’ve added an ‘official’ label to some accounts,” they said.

This didn’t exactly help, though, as a lack of a distinction meant it was still ripe for impersonation too, as one individual with a blue tick decided to parody former UK prime minister Tony Blair, quote tweeting a tweet from a ‘verified’ George W. Bush saying he “misses killing Iraqis” with “same tbh”.

So to summarise: people could pay $8 a month for a checkmark, only for an ‘official’ label to be introduced to add verification on top of the verification, only for this to be scrapped, then brought back?

Yep, and now Twitter Blue appears to have gone offline completely.

You read that right. While users could previously access Twitter Blue and consider paying the fee for a fancy blue tick, Zoë Schiffer, managing editor at Platformer, said an internal note from Twitter confirms the launch of Twitter Blue has been suspended to “help address impersonation issues”.

“An update on what we did tonight: hid the entry point to Twitter Blue, added the ‘official’ label for ONLY advertisers. Note: here is at least one way for users to sign up for Blue. Legacy Blue users [those verified before Twitter Blue’s rollout] can go to subscriptions and upgrade.

“Note 2: Existing Blue subscribers will still have access to their Blue features,” the note, reportedly sent on Slack, reads.

Musk is yet to comment on the pausing of Twitter Blue, and while we would reach out to Twitter for a statement, as US tech site The Verge reports, the company no longer has a communication department.

So we assume we just need to hold tight for now?

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