Elon Musk plans to go ahead with his plans to charge users for verification, suggesting an $8 fee per month.
In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Musk called the current system of verification a “lords & peasants system,” where prominent individuals have their identities verified by the platform and are acknowledged with a blue checkmark by their name.
“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” he wrote, suggesting that a tick could be given to accounts that subscribe to the platform’s premium service, Blue, for $8 a month.
The system was designed as a way to ensure that users could see if certain accounts were in fact who they were claiming to be, but the company has never been explicitly clear about what qualifications are needed in order to get verified.
Musk added that the price could fluctuate according to country. Twitter’s Blue service operates in a handful of countries: the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It costs $4.99 a month in the US and in its current guise the service offers a narrower suite of perks such as being able to undo or edit tweets.
In exchange, verified users will be prioritized in searches and mentions, which Musk believes is essential to defeat spam/scam” that he says plagues the system.
Users will also see half as many adverts and will be able to post long video and audio clips. No timing for the changes was announced.
Filings with regulators on Monday indicate that Musk has named himself CEO and the sole member of the company’s board of directors.
The changes would affect about 400,000 blue tick accounts on Twitter. Advertising, which would be reduced for Blue subscribers under the plans, accounts for 90% of Twitter’s $5bn in annual revenue.
In addition to Twitter, Musk is currently the head of four other companies: electric car maker Tesla, rocket company SpaceX, brain-chip startup Neuralink and the Boring Company, a tunnelling firm.