OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Billionaire Elon Musk hasn’t had control of Twitter for a full week, yet he’s already making major changes — and not to the delight of everyone. One change the SpaceX and Tesla founder is planning pertains to verified users.
According to The Verge, Musk is planning to charge users about $20 per month for the verified blue check mark, adding that the “directive is to change Twitter Blue, the company’s optional, $4,99 a month subscription that unlocks additional features, into a more expensive subscription that also verifies users.”
The outlet cited sources and documents in making its claim. And though pricing is subject to change, the plan is to charge users $19.99 for Twitter Blue. Also, the outlet reported that people who currently have blue check mark verification would have 90 days to sign up for Twitter Blue or lose their verification.
“The Twitter Blue subscription launched widely almost a year ago as a way to view ad-free articles from some publishers and make other tweaks to the app, such as a different color home screen icon. In the few quarters that Twitter reported earnings as a public company after that debut, advertising remained the vast majority of its revenue. Musk is keen on growing subscriptions to become half of the company’s overall revenue,” the report added.
The report also said that Musk informed Twitter staff they had until the end of the first week in November to implement the change or they would lose their jobs.
A Twitter poll asking users if they would pay for such a service found that more than 80 percent would not, which led Musk to respond, “Interesting.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2022
Radio host Dana Loesch responded: “That’s the demo that gives Twitter any value by their usage. You don’t penalize your power users, you partner with them. That said, I hope this is a troll and either verify everyone (which will help with bots) or no one.
“Ain’t no one payin for digital indulgences except people who bought into Twitter’s weird treatment of verification for status and not actual verification purposes,” Loesch noted further. “I’d let it lapse if true.”
“If it suddenly ended tomorrow, I could somehow adjust to the fall,” said National Review writer Dan McLaughlin on the platform.
Social media manager Josh Billinson noted: “It’s gonna be a very funny day on here when 99% of us lose our checks but then we get to know which of you actually thought it was worth paying $20 a month.”
“I think it’s a terrible idea on so many levels. The whole idea of verification was to ensure the authenticity of users/protect from fakes. Now, it will be harder to tell if some people or organizations opt out of verification,” writer Katherine Brodsky wrote on Twitter.
“There will be more misinformation on Twitter if @elonmusk requires verified users to pay for their blue badge,” tweeted Max Abrahams, a national security professor. “The main benefit of the badge is it prevents impersonation.”
“People like me will lose it,” blogger Tomris Laffly wrote. “I mean, there is absolutely no f***ing way that I will pay for it. If it can be bought, it’s worthless.”
“Beyond upending the stated purpose of verification, this policy would be completely backwards,” reporter Andrew Roth tweeted. “Verified users account for a huge portion of what gives the platform value. If anything, Twitter should be paying them.”
“Well, and charging people for a service that’s been free since inception will drive users away,” attorney Bari A. Williams said. “Advertisers/companies won’t want to invest in a platform with declining users and engagement, or to be affiliated with disinformation and impostors.”
University of Texas journalism professor John Schwartz added: “I wouldn’t pay $20 a month to be ON Twitter, much less to hold on to my check mark. As far as I can tell, the only thing it does is lets people who hate my posts call me a ‘blue-check as#h*le.’ Without it, they’ll just call me an as#h*le. I can live with the demotion.”
“The blue check used to be a way of confirming someone is who they say they are. Now it will be a way of identifying easy marks with money to spend,” wrote David Friedman, a photographer, and filmmaker.