As the world’s richest man prepares an overhaul of the social media network, Elon Musk is contemplating charging Twitter users $20 (£17.30) a month or $240 a year for a blue tick on their account.
According to the technology publication Platformer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to increase the monthly cost of Twitter’s Blue membership service from $4.99 to $19.99, among other modifications. The platform’s verified users, denoted by a blue tick symbolizing their credibility, would have 90 days to join Blue or lose their trustworthiness.
The “whole verification procedure is being rebuilt right now,” which Musk tweeted to his more than 110 million followers on Sunday, was his only response to the news.
There is now a complete overhaul of the verification procedure. He also brought attention to a poll that was started on Twitter on Monday morning asking people how much they would pay monthly for a blue tick: $5, $10, $15, or “wouldn’t pay.” Tech investor Jason Calacanis, a Musk acquaintance and member of the management team Musk assembled after his $44 billion purchase, organized the poll. The monthly cost of a Netflix membership is $6.99 (or £4.99, if you live in the UK).
Nearly all of those who participated in the survey claimed they wouldn’t pay anything, but a sizeable minority said they would
As of 2021, there are over 400 thousand verified Twitter users, however, the program has had its share of issues for quite some time. The “blue tick” was introduced in 2009 in response to a growing wave of celebrity concerns about impersonation, including from Kanye West, who blogged that “EVERYTHING THAT TWITTER OFFERS I NEED LESS OF.” It quickly became a status symbol, rather than simple proof of identity, but this was not the intention.
As a result, Twitter removed verification from certain users, including right-wing figure Milo Yiannopoulos, after receiving backlash for giving the status to white supremacists. They plan to restart the service in 2021.
The yearly revenue would be less than a tenth of the projected $1bn in interest payments due on Musk’s loans to acquire the site even if every existing verified user paid the charge.
Musk tweeted on Monday morning a chat message from a top employee in May 2022, suggesting that he and his team are combing over internal correspondence made by personnel in the lead-up to the takeover.
The billionaire said last week that he would form a council to oversee the filtering of information on Twitter; until that body convenes, he says, the company’s content standards will remain in place, and banned accounts will remain disabled.