Since his official takeover of the company on Thursday 27 October, new Twitter owner Elon Musk has wasted no time making changes to the platform.
After a fiery start which saw the company’s top executives being sacked by Musk without much ceremony, the billionaire is now reassessing the app’s approach to verified accounts.
Twitter blue-tick users are soon to be charged
The change was announced by Musk in a tweet on Sunday, which reads: «Whole verification process is being revamped right now.» No more details were provided on what changes might be coming to the app’s blue ticks, leading to speculations.
Technology newsletter Platformer reported on the same day that two sources close to the matter said that Twitter is contemplating charging users in exchange for the coveted blue tick.
The change would also apply to those who already have a blue tick (which includes Musk himself): according to the newsletter, users would have to subscribe to Twitter Blue — a monthly payment that gives the most engaged people on Twitter exclusive access to premium features — for $4.99 (€5.02) a month, or they’ll lose their verified status.
According to the report, Twitter users with the verified badge will have 90 days to subscribe to the app’s premium service before being stripped of their blue ticks, and the authority that comes with it.
At the moment, the blue check marks are only given to users who represent a notable institution, brand or company, who can provide proof of their identity (a link to an official website, ID verification or an official email address), and who are active on the platform.
‘Extremely funny’ and ‘totally backwards’: Twitter blue-tick users’ reactions
The news of the likely incoming monetisation of the blue tick has been met with scepticism, irony and outrage from users.
«Monetising the vanity of blue check Twitter addicts is unfortunately extremely funny,» tweeted journalist Ryan Broderick.
«I get emails every day from vanity business products offering to name me as ‘best lawyer’ or some such nonsense if I pay them a fee. I don’t pay any of them. I will not pay Twitter for a blue badge either,» wrote American national security attorney Bradley P. Moss. «Elon can do what he wants. It’s his company. I don’t have to pay for it.»
«The idea of forcing people to pay for blue checks gets Twitter’s value proposition totally backwards. For Twitter to have value, it needs to provide valid information from legitimate sources. If anyone can pay for the appearance of validity, the site loses all value,» tweeted Max Berger.
As is often the case with Musk, there’s no way of knowing if he’ll go forward with the implementation of this plan.
But there might be more changes on the way for Twitter Blue, which was launched in June last year, according to a report by The Verge on Sunday, Twitter will increase the monthly fee to $19.99 (€20) a month.