La Russa V. Biz

June 7, 2009

He’s a legend on the baseball diamond.

But Tony La Russa is not inspiring any awe at Twitter, the red-hot microblogging service that La Russa sued last month.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone called the suit — which relates to a Twitter user impersonating the famed St. Louis Cardinals manager — an “unnecessary waste of judicial resources bordering on frivolous,” in a blog post on the company Web site on Saturday titled “Not playing ball.”

Stone said reports that Twitter has settled the suit and agreed to pay La Russa’s legal fees are “erroneous,” noting that Twitter’s policy is to suspend, delete or transfer control of false accounts and that its staff acted in accordance with the policy when it was notified about the La Russa situation.

“Twitter has not settled, nor do we plan to settle or pay,” Stone said.

But if Twitter won’t pay La Russa, it is acting to prevent similar situations and lawsuits.

Stone said that Twitter will begin experimenting with so-called Verified Accounts this summer to deal with the impersonation issue.

The accounts will initially be introduced as a beta program available to celebrities and public officials and agencies. Twitter hopes to verify more accounts in the future, including businesses, but will begin with a small set due to the resources required.

Stone has previously cited verified accounts as a potential source of revenue for the company.

In an email message on Saturday however, Stone said the accounts introduced this summer will be free of charge as they will not be available for businesses.

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