As a result of Stephen King‘s outrage, Elon Musk has acknowledged the surprise and controversial concept of charging all verified users for their blue checkmark.
King’s response to the news that Musk planned to charge $20 a month for verified users to preserve their checkmark status went viral on Monday. If I pay $20 per month, may I retain my blue check? King’s 6.9 million Twitter followers saw his tweet.
I think they owe me money, so screw that. I’ll be out of here faster than Enron if that gets through. After a fan assured King that he could pay the charge, King famously retorted, “It ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing.”
In a similar vein, Nate Silver, the political guru behind FiveThirtyEight, tweeted to his 3.5 million followers, “I’m probably the perfect target for this, use Twitter a lot, can afford $20/mo, not particularly anti-Elon, but my reaction is that I’ve generated a tonne of valuable free content for Twitter over the years and they can go fuck themselves.”
On Tuesday morning, Musk addressed the outcry by tweeting directly at King: “We need to pay the bills somehow!” Advertising will not be enough to sustain Twitter. Okay, how about $8?
Musk then hinted that further information is forthcoming, saying, “I will explain the rationale in the longer form before this is done.” To counteract the automated posts and online trolls, this is the only solution.
Later, when asked about the concept again,Elon Musk seemed to double down, this time presenting the cost as a form of populist empowerment: “Twitter’s existing lords & peasants structure for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is crap. Speak for yourself, the people! You can get blue for $8 a month.
Verified accounts, critics argue, are not only a bonus for power users; they’re a necessity for establishing trust in the otherwise shady social media wasteland. The blue verification icons aid regular readers (and journalists) in determining if a comment attributed to a notable figure is genuine or the work of a fan or impostor. In other words, it’s an effort to curb the proliferation of disinformation. As TechCrunch put it, Musk’s plan might be a “misinformation disaster.”
According to TechCrunch, “Musk and his buddies regard this proposal as a means to encourage users to actually donate Twitter money.” But the value of the symbol will be completely destroyed if it is commercialized.
Musk reportedly plans to make the premium Twitter Blue service, which costs $4.99 a month and allows users to modify their tweets, mandatory for those who wish to keep their verified status, as reported by The Verge.
Users who do not subscribe to the new program within 90 days will have their blue badge removed. According to reports, Musk informed program staff members that they must implement the new guidelines by November 7 or be terminated. However, there has been no official announcement of a new program.
Musk previously tweeted, “The complete verification procedure is being redesigned right now.”