Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, is considering to charge verified or blue check account holders $8 per month.
In a Tuesday tweet to his over 110 million followers, Musk said “Twitter’s current lords & peasant system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bull—.”
“Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” he said.
Currently, Twitter uses a blue check mark system to indicate which users are trustworthy sources.
Musk also said that prices could vary from country to country based on their “purchasing power parity.”
He said users with blue checkmarks will be able to post longer videos and audio files and have reduced exposure to the number of advertisements. They will also get priority in mentions and searches, which is an essential component in the fight against spam and scam.
Musk added anyone who is a public figure will have a secondary tag below his or her name, as is already the case for politicians. On the other hand, publishers who are willing to collaborate with Twitter will receive a “paywall bypass”.
He continued by noting that the idea of charging users with blue checkmarks will also provide Twitter with the revenue stream to compensate content creators.
American supernatural fiction author Stephen King and tennis player Martina Navratilova were among the blue-checked Twitter users who brushed aside, if not criticized, Musk’s future plan, which had no stated start date.
“I didn’t ask for the blue check mark–it just showed up one day, so feel free to take it away. My peeps know it’s me,” Navratilova said.
King did not mince words when he tweeted, “$20 a month to keep my blue check? F— that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron,” when news of what Musk is planning to do leaked Monday. Earlier reports claimed Musk intends to charge blue checkmark users anywhere from $5 to $20 per month.
The author’s mention of Enron refers to the major US corporation’s fall after years of rapid growth.
Responding to King’s tweet, Musk said, “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
“I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls,” he added.
Others also argued that there is nothing wrong being charged for the blue check. Bestselling children’s author Matt Walsh said he agrees with the Tesla owner’s plan for Twitter, “but there still should be a verification system for people who are frequently impersonated by fake accounts.”
“I like the idea of a blue check for actual public figures (not obscure media people with 600 followers) and a different color for other verified accounts,” Walsh suggested.
The Liz Wheeler Show host Liz Wheeler, on the other hand, chided verified account users for their threat to leave Twitter if Musk pursues his new target for the social platform services.
“All you bluechecks pretending you’ll leave Twitter or surrender your verified badge if you have to pay for it are hilarious. We all know you’ll pay any amount to keep your status symbol,” she said.
Musk’s, whose acquisition of Twitter saw dramatic events that even led to the court, said the verification process for accounts is currently being rethought and improved.
He did not elaborate any more about the further details of the plan.