“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk tweeted Sunday evening. “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”
The hasty policy change follows a slew of prominent accounts getting unceremoniously suspended over the weekend, after all of them changed their Twitter names (but not their handles) and profile pictures to mock Musk—proving if nothing else, America truly runs on dunkin’.
Comedian Kathy Griffin was one of the first to be suspended after she changed her name and profile to match Musk’s and tweeted, “After much spirited discussion with the females in my life. I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right (They’re also sexy females, btw.) #VoteBlueToProtectWomen.”
Actor Rich Sommer was also on the chopping block after he tweeted, “okay, time to employ plan b, since they’re MAKING me keep twitter. Does anyone know any advertisers who are, like, kind of ‘into racism.’ NOT ACTUAL RACISTS!! Just ad ppl who are, y’know, curious about what it’s all about (racism).”
Musk explained that the new suspension-without-warnings system “will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue,” his $8-a-month subscription plan for verified users.
The plan was supposed to get rolled out Monday—which experts warn would have unleashed utter disinformation chaos on the midterm elections—but has now been postponed until Wednesday. Twitter has not given an official explanation for the delay.
The plan would allow anyone who pays the subscription fee to get a blue verification check mark on their account, making it impossible to actually verify who anyone is on Twitter anymore.
Musk—a self-described “free speech absolutist,” except, apparently, when it comes to jokes at his expense—has promised to roll back content moderation on the platform and fired half of Twitter’s staff, including its misinformation-fighting team.
Musk said the layoffs and subscription plan were necessary to produce revenue, complaining Friday that the platform had seen “massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers.”
Over the weekend, Twitter added a disclaimer to his tweet saying “readers added context” to his claims. The disclaimer linked to several articles reporting that companies were pulling ads from Twitter over concerns about the platform’s direction, particularly regarding content management.