According to Platformer’s Casey Newton and The Verge, with Elon Musk in charge, Twitter plans to raise the price of its Blue subscription service from $5 to $20 per month and make it mandatory for verified users.
If the plan is launched, verified users (including celebrities, politicians, journalists, etc.) must sign up for the service within 90 days or lose the blue check mark. Employees working on the project have reportedly been told they will be fired if the changes are not applied by November 7th.
Twitter launched Blue in the United States late last year for $3 per month (first was launched in Canada & Australia) but raised the price to $5 in July. Subscribers can access features such as top articles, custom icons, and, most recently, the ability to edit tweets. The company has not disclosed subscriber numbers, revenue, or other details for Twitter Blue, but according to Investopedia, the vast majority of its revenue (89 percent) comes from advertising.
Musk hinted at the rethink in a tweet yesterday, saying that “the whole verification process is being revamped right now.” As Newton pointed out, Twitter’s @verified currently follows approximately 428,000 accounts that bear the blue check, representing a small percentage of the site’s 206 million daily active users.
Many of them have tweeted about the change, and many would not pay $20 to keep their verified status. At the same time, users have expressed concern that the new system may exacerbate Twitter’s bot and spam issues, which Musk looks to despise. “The point of Twitter verification is that… it’s useful to be able to verify their statements are coming from them,” tweeted cosmologist and writer Katie Mack. “It’s supposed to help combat disinformation, not be a status symbol.”
Musk has been very busy in his few days as “chief twit.” According to The New York Times, he has ordered company-wide layoffs. On Saturday, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO reportedly informed managers to begin collecting lists of employees to lay off.