A Verified Badge On Twitter May Cost Users $20 A Month, Report Says

Topline

Verified users on Twitter may soon have to pay to retain their blue tick badges, according to a report by the Verge on Sunday, as the company’s new owner Elon Musk looks for new ways to monetize the social media platform.

Key Facts

In a characteristic vague tweet, Musk on Sunday said the “whole verification process” was being revamped, without providing any details.

Earlier on Sunday, journalist Casey Newton first reported that Musk is planning to charge verified accounts by paywalling the feature behind the subscription service Twitter Blue which presently costs $4.99 a month.

Citing people familiar with the matter and “internal correspondence,” the Verge reported later Sunday that Twitter will charge $19.99 for an upgraded Twitter Blue subscription and currently verified users will have 90 days to sign up before they lose their verified badge.

According to the report, Musk wants the feature to launch by November 7 and the team working on it have been warned they will be fired if they fail to meet that deadline.

It is unclear how this change will apply to verified accounts of government institutions, political leaders or companies, although Musk has previously indicated he wants to charge these entities to use Twitter.

Forbes has reached out to Twitter for comment.

News Peg

Earlier on Sunday, Musk dismissed a New York Times report that he was planning to carry out mass layoffs at the company before November 1. The report noted that would prevent the employees from receiving their stock grants as part of their year-end payout. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Twitter employees would receive a cash payment instead of stocks.

Key Background

On Sunday, Twitter quietly changed its homepage layout. Users who are not logged in are now served with Twitter’s Explore section on the homepage instead of the standard sign-up page that prompts users to create an account or log in to Twitter. On Friday, Musk announced Twitter will set up a moderation council with “diverse viewpoints” which will make decisions about the reinstatement of banned accounts on the platform. A few hours later he clarified that Twitter has not made any changes to its content policies in the meantime. While announcing the acquisition of the company Musk had promised to make Twitter a haven for free expression and even called himself a “free-speech absolutist.” Musk’s statements raised concerns that Twitter would take a laxer approach to content moderation allowing hate speech to flourish on the platform. The billionaire, however, tried to calm some of these fears in a statement last week where he said he won’t allow Twitter to become a “free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences.”

Tangent

Musk and Twitter came under the scanner once again over the weekend after he tweeted an unfounded conspiracy theory about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. In a now-deleted response to a tweet by Hillary Clinton—who linked that attack to GOP-driven hate speech and conspiracies—Musk wrote there was “a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.” Musk’s tweet linked to an article from the Santa Monica Observer—a website known to share fake news.

Further Reading

Twitter is planning to start charging $20 per month for verification (The Verge)

Elon’s first big move: pay to remain verified on Twitter (Platformer)