Twitter will start charging $8 a month for its Blue service, which includes the “verified” badge. Elon Musk said on Tuesday that he seeks to boost subscriptions and make social media less reliant on ads. Users who already have a blue verification badge will have a multi-month grace period before they either need to pay for the badge or lose it.
The plan to charge for verification has polarised users, with some people who currently have the white check mark inside a light blue field saying they won’t pay to keep it. Some have publicly tweeted in favor of the new business model, agreeing with Musk that it will help weed out “bots” or spam accounts.
Twitter has historically used blue verification badges to identify high-profile users who may be at risk of impersonation — people like journalists, politicians, and activists — and has never charged for the badge. Musk called the current setup a “lords and peasants system,” adding that users who pay $8 a month will also get other perks like “half as many ads” and “priority in replies, mentions, and search.”
Elon Musk said in a tweet that “Twitter’s current lords and peasants’ system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.” Power to the people! “Blue for $8/month,” Musk said in a tweet, adding that the price will be adjusted by “country proportionate to purchasing power parity.”
Although Twitter has decided that it’ll allow government accounts to stay verified, as well as those in regions where Twitter cannot charge payments, one person said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier Wednesday that the president and his administration had not yet considered whether it would pay to retain verification.
Critics say that giving verified users priority will mean that users who don’t pay will have their posts diminished or silenced. “Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that “free speech” is an $8/month subscription plan,” tweeted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York.