Twitter is delaying the rollout of account verifications for its paid Twitter Blue subscription plan until after the midterm elections, a source with knowledge of the decision confirmed to CNN.
The decision to push back the new feature comes a day after the platform released an updated version of its iOS app that promises to let users who pay a monthly subscription fee get a blue tick on their profiles, a feature that CEO Elon Musk has proposed . as a way to combat spam on the platform.
Outlined on Apple’s App Store, the app’s latest update said users will now have to pay $7.99 per month for the company’s Twitter Blue verification feature, “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.” The chin has long been used to confirm the authenticity of government officials, prominent people and journalists.
CNN’s testing of the service Saturday afternoon suggested the rollout was not yet complete before Sunday’s decision. A recent Twitter account created by CNN that opted into the paid feature did not display the tick on its public profile. Twitter also appeared to charge $4.99, an outdated price.
The decision to delay the rollout comes as the whole decision to charge users for verification has received widespread public backlash. In a show of defiance, some celebrities posed on the platform like Musk over the weekend and exposed a potential flaw in the “Blue Check” system.
Comedian Sarah Silverman used her verified account to troll Musk, copying his profile picture, cover photo and name. The only thing that distinguishes a tweet that comes Silverman’s account was @SarahKSilverman handle.
“I’m a free speech aficionado, and I pretty much eat breakfast every day,” Silverman tweeted Saturday. Her account also retweeted posts supporting Democratic candidates.
Silverman’s account was marked as “temporarily restricted” on Sunday, with a warning that “there has been some unusual activity from this account” displayed to visitors before they click through to the profile. The comedian then changed her account back to her usual form, complete with her own name and photo.
TV actress Valerie Bertinelli changed her in the same way username to the Twitter boss, tweeting Friday that “[t]The blue badge simply meant that your identity was verified. Fraudsters would have a harder time impersonating you. It no longer applies. Good luck out there!” She then responded to a follower who asked how the tag no longer applies, writing“[y]you can buy a blue check for $7.99 a month without verifying your identity.”
After changing his profile name to Musk, Bertinelli tweeted and retweeted support for several Democratic candidates and hashtags, including “VoteBlueForDemocracy” and “#VoteBlueIn2022.”
The actress changed her account name back to Valerie Bertinelli on Sunday, tweeting“[o]key-dokey I’ve had fun and I think I made my point.”
The trolling activity comes in the wake of Musk buying the company and promising to restore the accounts of users previously banned from the platform, notably former President Donald Trump. Musk has also said he will limit the company’s content restrictions and require the paid subscription for account verification.
In recent months, Musk has shared conspiracy theories about the attack on Paul Pelosi, called Democrats the party “division and hatred”, compared Twitter’s former CEO of Joseph Stalin and warned that “the waking mind virus will destroy civilization.”
CNN’s Brian Fung and Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report.