Pause on Twitter Verification, ISP Acquired, Public Safety Network New Board Member

The New York Times reported that Twitter is pausing its pay-for-verification system until after midterm elections.

Pause on Twitter Verification, ISP Acquired, Public Safety Network New Board Member
Photo of Renee Gordon, via Commerce

November 8, 2022 – The New York Times reported Sunday that Twitter is delaying the release of the $8 verification badge until after the 2022 midterm elections due to user and employee concerns that the new service could cause election interference.

“Many Twitter users and employees raised concerns that the new pay-for-play badges could cause confusion ahead of Tuesday’s elections because users could easily create verified accounts – say, posing as President Biden or as lawmakers or news outlets and publishing false information about voting results — which could potentially sow discord,” the Times reported.

“In an internal Slack channel on Saturday, one Twitter employee asked why the social network was ‘making such a risky change before elections, which has the potential of causing election interference,’” the Times report continued, after which a manager responded Sunday saying the verification service would be pushed back after the election.

Before SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk purchased the company in late October, Twitter’s verification badge – which serves as confirmation that the account holder is the real person – was an unpaid service.

Open Broadband to acquire Pyranah Communications

North Carolina-based service provider Open Broadband LLC announced the acquisition of Pyranah Communications LLC in a press release on Tuesday, which the company said will facilitate broader connectivity access to the NC counties of Jackson, Macon, and Transylvania.

“We have always wanted to expand our internet service offerings in western North Carolina. This acquisition affords us the ability to build upon the legacy of customer service that Pyranah has built over the last 18 years,” said Open Broadband CEO Alan Fitzpatrick in the release.

Open Broadband currently provides internet services to underserved communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida. Pyranah Communications LLC is an internet service provider based in western North Carolina. Through this acquisition, Open Broadband services will extend to that region of the state.

“When I decided to sell Pyranah I wanted to make sure that my customers would be in good hands. Open Broadband is focused on providing affordable high speed internet in communities just like ours. I knew they were the right company to continue the work we started in 2004,” said Al Beyer, founder of Pyranah.

Pyranah Communications staff will be retained in the acquisition, which is the third for Open Broadband since 2018, according to the release.

Public safety broadband network has new board member

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has appointed a former city emergency communications director as a new board member to serve on the 12-member public safety broadband network, according to a press release on November 4.

Renee Gordon will replace three-year committee member and public safety professional Karima Holmes.

“I am proud to announce the selection of Director Renee Gordon to serve on the FirstNet Authority Board,” Raimondo said. “She brings years of public safety emergency communications experience, which will be a vital asset to an already diverse and dedicated Board.”

Formerly serving as the director of the Department of Emergency Communications in the City of Alexandria, VA, since 2015, Gordon established the nation’s first remote 911 call-taking program using FirstNet technology in her role. Gordon has also worked for emergency responder entities at the Washington Airport Authority and the City of Baltimore.

The First Responder Network is a high-speed broadband emergency response platform, which is delivered by AT&T and managed by the FirstNet Authority, which is made up of 12 non-permanent officials as well as three permanent seats occupied by the attorney general, the secretary of Homeland Security, and the director of the Office of Management and Budget.