Elon Musk to Start Charging for Twitter Verification From Next Week?

Twitter aims to start selling blue verification badges for user profiles as soon as next week.

| Updated on: Nov 03 2022, 22:39 IST
When Elon Musk tweet sparked horror online abuse against Vijaya Gadde at Twitter
Elon Musk
1/6 Elon Musk tweet back in April had sparked a storm against Twitter's Vijaya Gadde. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO’s previous tweets have caused a controversy following his completed takeover of Twitter. (PowerfulJRE YouTube)
image caption
2/6 Elon Musk’s old tweets about Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde are back in the spotlight after he took a bold step on his first day as the new owner of Twitter by firing Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde. (Wikimedia Commons)
Elon Musk
3/6 Musk was responding to a tweet from Saagar Enjeti, host of a political podcast and called the move “incredibly inappropriate.” According to Bloomberg, while Musk didn't identify Gadde by name, the post was in response to an article in which she was mentioned. (AFP)
image caption
4/6 Enjeti tweeted on April 27, “Vijaya Gadde, the top censorship advocate at Twitter who famously gaslit the world on Joe Rogan's podcast and censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, is very upset about the @elonmusk takeover.” (Breaking Points/YouTube)
Elon Musk
5/6 Musk has frequently used the social media platform as a way to criticize the company’s decisions, especially when they involve banning accounts from people who violate Twitter's rules and policies. Twitter has banned people like American rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West due a couple of anti-semitic tweets recently. (PTI)
image caption
6/6 A flurry of negative, and even abusive tweets from Twitter users followed Musk’s comments directed at Gadde. Racist slurs were tweeted referencing Gadde’s Indian heritage, with words like “curry” used to target the Twitter lawyer. Users questioned Gadde and blamed that she “destroyed countless @Twitter accounts for speaking the truth.” Racist comments were even hurled at ex-Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. (AFP)
Elon Musk
icon View all Images
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and a close cadre of advisers are considering a host of changes to the way Twitter is run and makes money. (REUTERS)

Twitter Inc. aims to start selling blue verification badges for user profiles as soon as next week, part of a plan by new owner Elon Musk to fight fake accounts and squeeze revenue from the company he bought for $44 billion.

The badges will be part of an $8-a-month subscription that could go live as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the plans. Users who already have a blue verification badge will have a multi-month grace period before they will either need to pay for the badge or lose it, said one of the people, who requested anonymity discussing plans that aren't public.

The company also plans to expand access to its edit function. The edit feature, currently available to so-called Twitter Blue users who pay $4.99 a month, will be opened to the rest of users for free, one of the people said. That change could be implemented as soon as this week, the person said.

Billionaire Musk and a close cadre of advisers are considering a host of changes to the way Twitter is run and makes money, and it's possible that the timing for the subscriptions and edit-button rollout could change, the people said. A Twitter representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plan to charge for verification has polarized 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, concurring 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 & search.”

The quick turnaround for the new products reflects the speed at which Musk wants to move. One of the company's product leaders in charge of Twitter Blue, Esther Crawford, tweeted on Wednesday that she slept at the office in an effort to meet her deadlines.

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 actually a $8/mo subscription plan,” tweeted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York.

“Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8,” Musk replied.

Twitter will allow government accounts to stay verified, as well as those in regions where Twitter cannot charge payment, 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.

Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Whatsapp channel,Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 03 Nov, 22:39 IST