New Twitter CEO Elon Musk faced widespread backlash online Sunday afternoon after a report revealed that his company will now move to charge users nearly $20 a month to be verified.
The Verge reported that the “directive is to change Twitter Blue, the company’s optional, $4.99 a month subscription that unlocks additional features, into a more expensive subscription that also verifies users,” according to sources and documents the publication accessed.
While pricing is subject to change, the plan is to charge $19.99 for the new Twitter Blue.
The report said that people with existing verified accounts would have 90 days to sign up for the new $19.99 package or lose their verification badge.
The report said that Musk had informed employees that they must meet the deadline to launch the new product by the end of the first week in November or they would be fired.
A poll conducted on Twitter by one of the people advising Musk found that 80% of users said they would not pay for it, to which Musk replied, “Interesting.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2022
Radio host Dana Loesch tweeted, “That’s the demo that gives Twitter any value by their usage. You don’t penalize your power users, you partner with them. That said, I hope this is a troll and either verify everyone (which will help with bots) or no one.”
“Ain’t no one payin for digital indulgences except people who bought into Twitter’s weird treatment of verification for status and not actual verification purposes,” Loesch added. “I’d let it lapse if true.”
“If it suddenly ended tomorrow, I could somehow adjust to the fall,” National Review writer Dan McLaughlin tweeted.
Social media manager Josh Billinson tweeted: “It’s gonna be a very funny day on here when 99% of us lose our checks but then we get to know which of you actually thought it was worth paying $20 a month.”
“I think it’s a terrible idea on so many levels,” writer Katherine Brodsky tweeted. “The whole idea of verification was to ensure the authenticity of users/protect from fakes. Now, it will be harder to tell if some people or organizations opt out of verification.”
“There will be more misinformation on Twitter if @elonmusk requires verified users to pay for their blue badge,” national security professor Max Abrahams tweeted. “The main benefit of the badge is it prevents impersonation.”
“People like me will lose it,” blogger Tomris Laffly tweeted. “I mean, there is absolutely no f***ing way that I will pay for it. If it can be bought, it’s worthless.”
“Beyond upending the stated purpose of verification, this policy would be completely backwards,” reporter Andrew Roth noted. “Verified users account for a huge portion of what gives the platform value. If anything, Twitter should be paying them.”
“Well, and charging people for a service that’s been free since inception will drive users away,” attorney Bari A. Williams tweeted. “Advertisers/companies won’t want to invest in a platform with declining users and engagement, or to be affiliated with disinformation and impostors.”
Richest man on Earth: Pay me $20 a month to tweet https://t.co/JqrvdKu1EH
— jason concepcion (@netw3rk) October 31, 2022
I wouldn't pay $20 a month to be ON Twitter, much less to hold on to my check mark. As far as I can tell, the only thing it does is lets people who hate my posts call me a "blue-check as#h*le." Without it, they'll just call me an as#h*le. I can live with the demotion. https://t.co/FcAhiv6KsW
— John Schwartz (@jswatz) October 31, 2022
The blue check used to be a way of confirming someone is who they say they are. Now it will be a way of identifying easy marks with money to spend. https://t.co/E1fbcZoBVj
— David Friedman (@ironicsans) October 31, 2022
Handing over my blue check to Elon like a cop handing over his badge and gun to his sergeant after being suspended https://t.co/1fmmxLjDBG
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) October 31, 2022
Lol. Who is stupid enough to pay $20 a month for a blue check? https://t.co/VhwrB0gzvE
— Mike Masnick (@mmasnick) October 31, 2022
Then take it. I'm not paying $240 a year for a blue tick that will be absolutely meaningless once bots and conspiracy theorists can buy their own check.
The point of the verified badge is to help users identify authentic accounts. Muskrat doesn't give a shit about credibility. https://t.co/lkuSFyH1Pm
— Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) October 31, 2022
Being verified was supposed to be about telling real accounts from parodies or scams. Then Twitter made it into a pseudo endorsement, which turned into a mess. Now it wants to charge quadruple what Apple TV+ costs to maintain a status symbol many already view as a joke.
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) October 31, 2022