After several accounts changed their names to ‘Elon Musk’ and mocked the billionaire, the Twitter owner said users engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying it as a parody account will be permanently suspended.
Twitter previously issued a warning before suspending accounts, but there would now be no warning, the Chief Twit announced in a series of tweets on Monday.
Musk’s laying off around half of the company’s workforce at the end of last week, triggered an avalanche of such handles.
He also confirmed plans to allow users to buy blue-tick verified status.
Detailing the new policy on parody accounts, Musk tweeted: “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.
“Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world. That’s our mission.
“Widespread verification will democratize journalism & empower the voice of the people
“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended.
“Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”
He added that “any name change at all will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark”.
Several accounts that had changed their name to Elon Musk and mocked the billionaire have been suspended or placed behind a warning sign, including those of US comedian Kathy Griffin and former NFL player Chris Kluwe, the BBC reported.
Other accounts, including one parodying former US President Donald Trump by comedian Tim Heidecker, are yet to be suspended.
Musk has previously said he opposed permanent bans on Twitter, including that of Trump’s official account.
Musk said last week that banned accounts would not be reinstated until there was “a clear process for doing so”.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Twitter was delaying the rollout of verification check marks to subscribers of its new service until after Tuesday’s US midterm elections. At the weekend, the social media site’s website app began offering an update that will charge US$8 a month for its blue, verified checkmark.
On Friday, the billionaire said Twitter was losing more than $4 million per day, insisting that this gave him “no choice” over culling around half the company’s 7,500-strong workforce.
The cuts – as well as Musk’s fierce advocacy of free speech – have caused speculation that Twitter could water down its efforts on content moderation.
However, Musk has insisted that the firm’s stance towards harmful material remains “absolutely unchanged”. UN human rights chief Volker Turk wrote him an open letter, warning that Twitter had a responsibility to avoid amplifying harmful content, the BBC said.