Elon Musk Starts — And Apparently Finishes — Blue-Check Fee Negotiations With Stephen King
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: President Barack Obama presents author Stephen King with the 2014 National Medal of Arts at The White House on September 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)
Leigh Vogel/WireImage

Billionaire entrepreneur and “Chief Twit” Elon Musk took a moment early on Tuesday to begin negotiations on a potential blue-check fee with horror author Stephen King.

King began the conversation on Monday with his reaction to a report suggesting that Musk planned to monetize Twitter’s verification badges — to the tune of $20 monthly for anyone who wanted to keep the little blue check mark — and he made it clear that he was not the least bit interested in ponying up the dough.

“$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*** that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron,” King tweeted.

Responding to someone who called him “cheap,” King added, “It ain’t the money. It’s the principle of the thing.”

Musk, who has not publicly confirmed reporting from The Verge regarding the blue check fees, appeared to confirm that some fee was being considered — and could be subject to negotiations — when he responded to King in a tweet of his own.

“We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?” Musk suggested.

“I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented,” Musk continued. “It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls.”

Musk doubled down on his $8-per-month suggestion a short time later, tweeting, “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.”

“Price adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity,” he added.

“You will also get: – Priority in replies, mentions & search, which is essential to defeat spam/scam – Ability to post long video & audio – Half as many ads,” Musk continued.

“And paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with us,” he concluded.

Twitter first launched verified accounts in 2009 in an effort to build trust among users and as a response to celebrities who claimed that people were building fake accounts to impersonate them.

“The goal,” according to a report from Variety, “was not to generate revenue but to increase trust in the social network by providing a visual signifier that notable account holders, such as celebrities, politicians, companies, entertainment brands, news organizations and other accounts ‘of public interest’ were the real deal and not impostor or parody accounts.”

Musk has been promising — since he first hinted at buying the social media platform — to improve the Twitter user experience, saying that he would “make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”

Thus far, however, users are unsure that a $20 monthly fee is the way to go about achieving that end.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Elon Musk Starts — And Apparently Finishes — Blue-Check Fee Negotiations With Stephen King