Musk says Twitter will charge $8 per month for account verification after criticism of $19.99 plan

Musk says Twitter will charge $8 per month for account verification after criticism of $19.99 plan

New York
CNN Business

After facing criticism for his plan to charge Twitter users $19.99 a month to get or keep a verified account, Elon Musk has a counter offer.

On Tuesday, Musk said he plans to charge $8 a month for Twitter’s subscription service, dubbed “Twitter Blue,” promising to let anyone pay to get the coveted blue checkmark to verify their account.

U tweet, the world’s richest man used an expletive to describe his assessment of “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system of who has or doesn’t have a blue tick.” He added: “Power to the people! Blue for $8 a month.”

CNN previously published Twitter has been working to update its existing subscription product, which currently costs $4.99 per month, to include a verification feature. According to internal Twitter planning documents reviewed by CNN, Twitter could also remove blue checkmarks from currently verified users if they don’t start paying the higher price of $19.99 for the subscription product within 90 days.

The news quickly sparked outrage and disbelief among some longtime Twitter users, including author Stephen King, who has nearly seven million followers on the platform.

“$20 a month to keep my blue check?” he tweeted on Monday, followed by an expletive. “They should pay me. If that gets established, I’m gone like Enron.” Following up later in the answer, King wrote“[i]it’s not the money, it’s the principle of the thing.”

Early Tuesday morning, Musk responded to King with his most explicit proposal yet to charge for account verification. “[W]gotta pay the bills somehow! “Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers,” he said. “How about $8?”

On Tuesday, Musk reiterated the price of $8 and shared more details for his new plan. He said subscribers will have priority in replies, mentions and searches, as well as the ability to post longer video and audio content with half the ads of free users. Publishers working with the platform will also be able to bypass the paywall, Musk says.

“This will also give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators,” he added.

Notes highlight how weak some of Musk’s initial plans for Twitter are, and the urgency he faces to boost revenue and profits for a company that has lost money for much of its history. Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, an amount he admitted was “obviously overpaying” the company. He also prepared a significant amount of debt to pay for the business.

Since completing his purchase of the social media platform last week, the billionaire has been quick to shake up Twitter, including dissolution of the board and firing their top executives. In tweets over the weekend, Musk polled his followers if he did return VineTwitter’s defunct short-form video service, and said “absolutely” in response to a user suggestion to review the platform’s character limits. It’s unclear how committed Musk is to pursuing any or all of these changes.

On Sunday, Musk tweeted: “The entire verification process is currently being rebuilt.”

Even before the deal was completed, Musk suggested the possibility of tying verification to a paid subscription service. In April, Musk said that paid Twitter subscribers “should get an authentication tick.” U another tweetsaid: “Cost should probably be ~$2/month but paid for 12 months in advance and the account doesn’t get ticked for 60 days (watch out for CC refunds) and gets suspended without refund if used for fraud/spam.”

While the blue tick emerged as a status symbol for users, it was also designed to ensure that people can tell which accounts are authentic and which are not, especially for celebrities, brands and other influential accounts. If Musk were to create a paid verification barrier, there are concerns that it could make it harder to distinguish whether a household name is a bot or not.

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