Twitter, now in the hands of Elon Musk, is reportedly looking at charging some users a lot more for the privilege of maintaining the coveted blue check mark.
Social media newsletter Platformer reports that one of Elon Musk’s first moves since acquiring Twitter on late Thursday is demanding that executives roll out a program to charge existing verified users much more than the $4.99 a month they currently can pay for their badge.
Musk is looking to change Twitter’s existing Twitter Blue program, which carries an optional $4.99 a month fee for extra features but still includes ads albeit with ad-free articles for some publications. It’s currently available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US. Twitter raised the price for the program in July from $2.99 a month.
Also: Elon Musk promises not to make Twitter a ‘free-for-all hellscape’
And according to The Verge, Twitter is looking also at charging $19.99 for new Twitter Blue subscriptions. Verified users would have 90 days to subscribe or lose their Twitter tick of approval.
What’s clear is that whatever Twitter decides to do about verifying users, change is coming.
Musk on Sunday tweeted on his platform that the entire Twitter verification will be revamped.
“The whole verification process is being revamped right now,” wrote Musk in response to a tweet from venture capitalist firm a16z.
Musk has previously argued Twitter verified accounts should be expanded to combat spam accounts on Twitter – an issue he raised as a stumbling block to finalizing his $44 billion acquisition of the company. In April, he said he wanted to “massively expand the verified pool & make bot armies too expensive to maintain.”
Twitter Blue Labs offers Twitter Blue subscribers extra features like longer video uploads, editing tweets, and NFT profile pictures.
Following his takeover, Elon Musk changed his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit”. He currently has 112.3 million followers. In the past few hours, he posted a survey asking whether Twitter should bring back Vine, the short-form video service it abandoned a month after TikTok launched in September 2016.
Vine was launched in 2012 and within a year was snapped up by Twitter for around $30 million. Meta has now launched TikTok-like features on Facebook and Instagram.
“What could we do to make it better than TikTok?,” asked Musk on Twitter.
Immediately after taking control of Twitter, Musk fired Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, as well as CFO Ned Segal, and several other seniors executives.
A day before the takeover, Musk posted an open letter to advertisers saying it aspires to be the “most respected advertising platform”, contradicting his previous statements against ad-sponsored models. He also is considering reversing the permanent ban on former US President Donald Trump.
Musk told advertisers that Twitter “obviously cannot become a free-for-all hell scape, where anything can be so with no consequences” and that “advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain, and inform you”. Still, General Motors on Friday paused its advertising on Twitter as it evaluates “Twitter’s new direction”.