The new Chief Executive Officer of Twitter, Elon Musk is now considering charging $8 per month for verified accounts after backlash from Twitter power users.
The world’s richest individual had tasked his workers to work out plans to begin charging verified accounts $20 per month in order to retain their blue check-mark badges.
Musk had planned to jack up the price of the Twitter Blue subscription plan from $4.99 to $19.99 per month, and would make the service the only way to retain verified-user status, the Verge reported Sunday.
Users would have 90 days to join the subscription programme or have their verified status revoked.
Writer Stephen King, among many others who weighed in on the subject, did not mince words in reacting to the idea. “$20 a month to keep my blue check?” King tweeted Monday to his 6.9 million followers. “F*** that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.” He followed up later by saying, “It ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing.”
Late Monday evening, Musk replied to King, saying, “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
Musk continued, “I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls.”
On Monday, Musk also changed the description in his bio from “Chief Twit” to “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator.” In SEC filings, Musk identified himself as CEO — after firing previous chief exec Parag Agrawal and other top Twitter managers.
He dissolved the previous Twitter board after taking the company private. Musk closed the $44 billion takeover of Twitter on October 27, after six months of haggling and repeated attempts to back out of the deal which he said he was “overpaying” for.
Twitter first introduced verified accounts in 2009. The goal was not to generate revenue but to increase trust in the social network by providing a visual signifier that notable account holders, such as celebrities, politicians, companies, entertainment brands, news organisations and other accounts “of public interest” were the real deal and not impostors or parody accounts.
In announcing the binding deal to buy Twitter back on April 25, Musk proclaimed that he wanted to “make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”
Apparently, he meant authenticating all humans who are willing to pay Musk a monthly fee to help him defray the cost of running Twitter.