Twitter CEO Elon Musk now says he wants to charge users $8 per month to retain their verification badge or obtain one on the platform — after an earlier report suggested he might seek even more for the privilege.
On Tuesday, Musk outlined his plan on Twitter and called the current system that gives out the blue checkmark badges “bulls**t.” The blue check feature, indicating that the person’s identity has been verified, would become part of Twitter Blue, which costs $5 a month currently.
“Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” he wrote.
The blue checkmark has become a coveted marker of status among some of the celebrities, politicians and journalists who are heavy users of Twitter. On Sunday, Musk said he whole verification process is getting “revamped.”
For the $8 monthly charge, users will also get priority in replies, mentions and search, ability to post longer videos and audio, and half as many ads, Musk said. He aded that there would be a “paywall bypass” for publishers who are “willing to work with us.”
The new strategy, he said, will give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators.
He added that there will be a secondary tag below a public figure’s name, much like there is now for politicians.
Opponents of the approach say it will make it easier for users to spread disinformation or to impersonate someone else on Twitter. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocked the idea of Musk charging user fees.
“Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that ‘free speech’ is actually a $8/mo subscription plan,” she tweeted.
Still, Musk is undeterred.
“To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8,” he wrote.
The SpaceX and Tesla CEO went on to share a clip of the British comedy show Monty Python, which he says inspired him. “Totally stole idea of charging for insults & arguments from Monty Python tbh,” he wrote.
The plan comes after The Verge reported Musk was looking to charge $20 a month for blue check users — prompting fierce pushback, including from legendary horror writer Stephen King, who said “Twitter should pay” him to stay on the app.
“If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron,” King tweeted, referring to the energy company that filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
Users and tech industry analysts have voiced an array of concerns about what Twitter may look like under Musk, who declared his intent to manage the platform as a “free speech” space.
Since Musk took charge of Twitter last week, the platform has seen a significant spike in hate speech, according to a new study. Researchers from Montclair State University found that the 12 hours immediately following Musk’s ascension to ownership saw a much more “hostile” environment on Twitter.
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