Twitter on Wednesday unveiled — and then almost immediately scrapped — a new grey “official” label for some high-profile accounts as Elon Musk struggles to revamp the highly influential platform following his $44 billion buyout.
“I just killed it,” Musk tweeted just hours after the new tag was added to government accounts as well as those of big companies and major media outlets.
“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in the coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t,” the world’s richest man added to explain the U-turn.
The sudden change of heart will invite further scrutiny of Musk’s plans for Twitter a week after he laid off thousands of workers and drew a massive drop in spending from advertisers, who are wary of the site’s direction.
The botched rollout came out ahead of the hotly anticipated introduction of a revamped subscription model in which the site’s famed blue checkmark would be made available for a fee of $7.99.
The blue tick has been a mark of an account’s authenticity and doubts emerged that public figures or media outlets would pay for it. The official grey tag was seen by observers as a workaround to solve that problem.
The rollout of the new official label began on Wednesday and was on the accounts of companies such as Apple or BMW and public ones such as the White House and major media outlets.
But only a few hours later, it was gone.
Musk took control of Twitter after a drawn-out back-and-forth legal battle in which the mercurial tycoon tried to renege on the deal.
It emerged on Tuesday that Musk sold $4 billion worth of shares in Tesla to help pay for the deal in which he took on billions of dollars in debt.
The $7.99 subscription idea is seen as one way to overcome the loss in advertisers since Musk took over the company.
Twitter last week fired half of its 7,500 employees which Musk said was necessary as the company was losing four million dollars a day.