Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk looks for new ways to monetize the social media platform, so verified users on the platform may soon have to pay to retain their blue tick badges. The “whole verification process” was being revamped, without providing any details, said the billionaire in a characteristic vague tweet.
Musk is planning to charge verified accounts by paywalling the feature behind the subscription service Twitter Blue which presently costs $4.99 a month, journalist Casey Newton first reported.
Twitter may charge $19.99 for an upgraded Twitter Blue subscription and currently verified users will have 90 days to sign up before they lose their verified badge, citing people familiar with the matter and “internal correspondence,” said Forbes, who gathered information from The Verge.
UPDATE 11/1/22: Elon posted a tweet suggesting it may only cost $8.
Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.
Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2022
One of the funniest parts of this is watching millionaires like Stephen King complain about having to pay to use a service. Stephen King posted this message, then Elon Musk replied accordingly.
Musk wants the feature to launch by November 7, according to a report. While the team working on it has been warned they will be fired if they fail to meet that deadline. It is still not clear how this change will apply to verified accounts of government institutions, political leaders, or companies, but previously, the Tesla CEO has indicated he wants to charge these entities to use Twitter.
A New York Times report was earlier dismissed by Musk, which said that he was planning to carry out mass layoffs at the company before November 1. That would prevent the employees from receiving their stock grants as part of their year-end payout, the report noted. Twitter employees would receive a cash payment instead of stocks, under the terms of the merger agreement.
Quietly, Twitter has changed its homepage layout. While instead of the standard sign-up page that prompts users to create an account or log in to Twitter, users who are not logged in are now served with Twitter’s Explore section on the homepage.
Twitter will set up a moderation council with “diverse viewpoints” which will make decisions about the reinstatement of banned accounts on the platform, Musk also announced. Just a few hours later, he clarified that Twitter has not made any changes to its content policies in the meantime.
Musk called himself a “free-speech absolutist,” and promised to make Twitter a haven for free expression. Concerns were raised over those statements by Musk, as it is feared that Twitter would take a laxer approach to content moderation allowing hate speech to flourish on the platform. But the world’s richest man tried to calm some of these fears in a statement, however, as he said he won’t allow Twitter to become a “free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences.”
Recently, after Musk tweeted an unfounded conspiracy theory about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, he and Twitter came under the scanner once again. Musk wrote that there was “a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,” in a now-deleted response to a tweet by Hillary Clinton – who linked that attack to GOP-driven hate speech and conspiracies.
Musk’s tweet linked to an article from a website known to share fake news, which is the Santa Monica Observer.