Elon Musk appeared today to confirm a plan to charge Twitter users for account verification, but for $8 instead of the $20 monthly fee he previously floated. “Twitter’s current lords and peasants system for those who may or may not have a blue tick is bullshit. power to the people! Blue for $8/month.” Musk tweeted today.
That’s a nod to Twitter Blue, which currently costs $4.99 per month and offers access to the Untweet option several other functions. On Sunday, The Verge reports that Musk ordered employees to increase the price of Twitter Blue to $19.99 and require anyone with a verified account to sign in to keep their blue verification tick.
The Wall Street Journal later reported that it viewed “internal company correspondence” confirming the plan to charge $19.99 and make account verification dependent on subscription. Accounts that are already verified would reportedly lose their verified status within 90 days if they don’t purchase a subscription.
But amid widespread backlash, Musk apparently changed his mind about the price. Musk first suggested the lower price of $8 after novelist Stephen King wrote that he would not “pay $20 a month to keep my blue check.” musk answered to King: “We’ve got to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
Musk claims plan ‘increases the cost of crime on Twitter’
Musk too claims that his plan “is the only way to defeat the bots and trolls”. Security expert Runa Sandvik was skeptical. “I’m curious how this will work, surely some bots and trolls will also pay for blue checks (maybe with stolen credit cards)”, Sandvik wrote in reply to Musk.
Musk later explained he believes his plan “will destroy the bots” because “[i]If a paid Blue account is involved in spam/scams, that account will be banned. In essence, this increases the cost of crime on Twitter by several orders of magnitude.” He also said that Twitter will begin “using a secondary tag under the name for someone who is a public figure, which is already the case for politicians is”.
Charging for verification could make it easier for scammers to impersonate real people, even if the scammers don’t get blue checks, as we discovered yesterday. If a verified person loses their tick because they don’t pay for Twitter Blue, a scammer could pretend to be that person and there would be no verified account to point to to prove the scammer is fake.
Musk also wrote that the $8 price will be “adjusted from country to country in proportion to purchasing power parity.” The revamped Twitter Blue features “[p]”Priority on replies, mentions, and searches, which is essential to fight spam/scams,” the ability to post lengthy videos and audio, half the ad count, and a “paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with us to work together,” he wrote. This will also provide Twitter with a revenue stream to reward content creators,” Musk wrote.
However, Musk-run Twitter is removing a useful feature from Twitter Blue at the same time. Twitter Blue used to include access to ad-free articles, but this benefit was removed yesterday.
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