Twitter's new "Chief Twit," Elon Musk, is strongly considering charging users to keep their blue "verified" checkmarks, Platformer's Casey Newton reported Sunday, citing two people familiar with the matter. Verified users will have to subscribe to a revamped Twitter Blue subscription service that will cost $19.95 a month, up from $4.99 currently, The Verge added. "Under the current plan, verified users would have 90 days to subscribe or lose their blue checkmark."
Musk has given employees working on the project until Nov. 7 to launch this new paid verification plan or they will be fired, The Verge reports. Musk tweeted to one user Sunday that "the whole verification process is being revamped right now," and responded to a Twitter poll that found (as of early Monday) nearly 80 percent of respondents saying they would pay nothing for verification by tweeting, "Interesting."
Blue Checkmark Twitter did not appear to be eager to fork over $20 a month for the privilege of being verified on Musk's site. Prominent tech journalist Kara Swisher said she's a "hard no," explaining that she pays less for a bunch of services — Netflix. Amazon Prime, Apple Music — that give her something she values without having to "endure stupidly obvious and painfully wit-free jokes" from a CEO who tweets "homophobic sh-tty news for laffs" and acts like a "buffoon."
"In fact, I would not pay a dime for verification," Swisher adds. "In fact, social media should pay its creators and treat them with respect, instead of unleashing knuckleheads on them." Semafor's Benjy Sarlin predicted that the only two categories for a $20-a-month subscription would be "'I have an employer who requires/expenses it' or 'I am way too into Twitter in an off-putting way and want to advertise that fact.'"
Verification isn't just an ego trip, Quartz's Scott Nover notes. "1.) It's a way to show users which account is the real Justin Bieber or Anderson Cooper or, hell, Guy Fieri and 2.) it's a way for Twitter to signal what/who is a reputable news source/journalist." And added to Musk's other actions as Chief Twit, he doesn't give the endeavor much chance of success.