Elon Musk bought Twitter, and he is wasting no time making sweeping changes to the company with strict deadlines. Among them are a reportedly planned steep price increase to Twitter’s subscription service, Twitter Blue.
But, the price would come with a perk that Musk allegedly thinks users would be willing to pay for: that verified blue check mark.
Paying to Be Verified?
It is not yet officially confirmed in detail, but The Verge reports that Twitter Blue, which launched in 2021 at $4.99 per month to unlock extra features, will skyrocket to $19.99 per month. Justifying the price would be verification: getting that blue check mark next to your handle.
Musk confirmed a planned price increase to Twitter Blue is in the works in a series of tweets to author Stephen King, but the exact details remain murky.
Musk has also reportedly given employees at Twitter until 7 November to execute this plan or be fired. He has already fired several executives at the company, according to The New York Times, and likely has more layoffs planned.
Will Verified Twitter Users Pay?
While there may be everyday people or wannabe influencers who will pay anything for the blue tick as a way to gain status, Twitter will also reportedly give those who are already verified 90 days to subscribe to Twitter Blue or lose their status. This news has been controversial among celebrities and other public figures sharing their thoughts on Twitter.
It is unclear if verified users will largely stick around for the price hike or flock to other social media platforms. If they leave, many everyday users who come to Twitter to see news or information from their favorite celebrities may leave too as the platform will no longer suit their needs.
Verification has long served on many social media platforms as a way to clarify which accounts are run by real celebrities or organizations versus impersonators. But if anyone can pay for verification, it is unclear how users will be able to tell which account is the real celebrity and which is pretending to be somebody they are not.
Musk says paid verification will help cut down on the number of Twitter bots, which are a real problem. But his plan may cause other problems with disinformation from impersonators. Impersonators could make Twitter confusing for the average user, who may find it difficult to tell what information is true and what is coming from an impersonator with a paid blue tick.
Verification has also historically been used for news reporters, journalists, and agencies disseminating important information to the public. Without differentiation between them and unreliable sources, you may find it impossible to trust information on Twitter. Is @WhiteHouse or @WHITEH0USE real? For now, the answer might seem obvious: one is verified and one is not. If the fake one pays for verification though, you make be quicker to trust it.
Would You Pay to Be Verified?
With paid verification seeming more likely in the near future, everyday users should start to consider whether they want to buy in or log out. Whichever choice you make, it may fundamentally change how we use and get information on Twitter.