Musk said on Tuesday that he planned to charge US$8 a month for "Twitter Blue," Twitter's subscription service, with the promise that anyone who paid would be able to get the coveted blue check mark to verify their account.
Twitter's current lords and peasants system for who has or doesn't have a blue checkmark is a s***show. Power to the people! he said. Blue for $8 per month.- A tweet from the world richest man and current owner of Twitter, Elon Musk
It was said before that Twitter was working on a new version of its $4.99-a-month subscription service that would include the verification feature. There were planning documents from inside Twitter that said that if verified users don't start paying the higher $19.99 price for the subscription product within 90 days, Twitter could take away their blue check marks.
Some long-time Twitter users, like author Stephen King, who has nearly seven million followers on the platform, were outraged and shocked by the newsright away.
On Monday, he tweeted, "$20 a month to keep my blue check?" He then wrote an expletive. In a later reply, King wrote, “[i]t ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing.”
Early Tuesday morning, Musk replied to King with his clearest statement yet about the plan to charge for account verification. “[W]e need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers,” he said. “How about $8?”
On Tuesday, Musk said again that the price would be $8 and gave more information about his new plan. He said that paid users would get more attention in replies, mentions, and searches.
They would also be able to post longer audio and video content and see half as many ads as free users. Musk says that publishers who work with the platform can also get around the paywall.
“This will also give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators,” he said.
Elon Musk wearing a black suit with a white shirt The comments show how uncertain some of Musk's early plans for Twitter may be and how quickly he needs to turn a company that has lost money for most of its historyinto one that makes money. Musk paid $44 billion to buy Twitter, which he said was "obviously too much" for the company. He also got a lot of debt financing to help pay for the deal.
Since he bought the social media site last week, the billionaire has moved quickly to change things at Twitter. He has gotten rid of the board and fired the top executives. In tweets over the weekend, Musk asked his followers if he should bring back Vine, Twitter's short-form video service that was shut down. He said "absolutely" when a user suggested rethinking the character limits of the platform. It's not clear how serious Musk is about making any of these changes.
Musk tweeted on Sunday:
The whole verification process is being revamped right now.- A tweet from Elon Musk
Even before the deal was done, Musk brought up the idea that verification could be tied to a paid subscription service. Musk said in April that Twitter users who pay for the service "should get an authentication checkmark." In another tweet, he said, "Price should probably be ~$2/month, but paid for 12 months upfront and account doesn't get a checkmark for 60 days (watch for CC chargebacks) & suspended with no refund if used for scam/spam."
The blue check mark has become a status symbol for users, but it's also meant to help people figure out which accounts are real and which aren't, especially when it comes to celebrities, brands, and other important accounts. If Musk put up a paid barrier for verification, it might be harder to tell if a well-known name is a bot or not.