The new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk is planning to charge Twitter users $20 a month or $240 a year for a blue tick on their account.
Following reports that bots account for 5% of all users and ‘heavy tweeters’ account for less than 10% of the site’s monthly users, Twitter issued an official statement on Monday stating that charging users can help the platform stay out of debt. According to the statement, Musk is considering implementing a financially motivated change.
“Verified or ‘blue tick’ users would need to pay for their verification status going forward, or else it will be removed till it is paid.
“The objective of the company is to set a monthly subscription of $4.99 for these users, which would further unlock other features. But for newly verified accounts till after the launch will have to pay $19.99.
“Current verified users will be given 90 days from the launch, to subscribe to the new feature, the statement added.
While this change will affect those attempting to be verified, it will also affect those who are already verified. To keep their Blue Tick, verified Twitter users will need to subscribe to Twitter Blue. They will have 90 days to purchase the subscription, and if they do not, they will lose their coveted Blue Tick.
Musk has given a deadline of November 7 to introduce this new change. If this isn’t met, the employees could be sacked.
He also mentioned a Twitter poll that went live on Monday asking Twitter users how much they would pay per month for a blue tick: $5, $10, $15, or “wouldn’t pay.” The poll was set up by tech investor Jason Calacanis, a Musk associate who was brought in by the multibillionaire to help run the company after the $44 billion takeover. A basic Netflix subscription costs $6.99 (£4.99) per month. The vast majority of poll respondents said they would not pay at all, but a sizable minority said they would.
To recall, the Twitter Blue subscription plan was launched last year for $3 per month before being raised to $5 per month. The plan includes several exclusive features, such as the ability to undo tweets, a new feature to edit tweets, and the ability to get custom icons, among others.
Musk’s plans for Twitter since the takeover have largely been played out through his Twitter account. Musk launched a poll on Monday asking users if he should bring back Vine, the video-sharing app that was seen as a precursor to TikTok but was shut down by Twitter in 2016.
Musk hinted at a motivation for the move in an exchange with YouTube star Mr Beast, who wrote that “if you did that and competed with TikTok that’d be hilarious.” “What could we do to make it better than TikTok?” Musk responded. Twitter has 230 million users, while TikTok has over 1 billion.
Musk and his team also appear to be reviewing internal communications sent by employees in the run-up to the takeover, after tweeting on Monday morning a chat message sent by a senior employee in May 2022.
He has also promised to keep content policies in place and ban restricted accounts until the billionaire announced content moderation council meets.