Elon Musk this week seemingly confirmed reports that Twitter wants to charge $20 a month for users to keep their verified blue checkmarks, but it appears the company’s new owner is willing to negotiate the price.
After famed author Stephen King threatened to quit Twitter over the potential $20 fee Monday night, Musk asked if he would consider a lower price.
“$20 a month to keep my blue check? Damn, they should pay me. If this is enacted, I will be out like Enron,” King said He wrote(Opens in a new window) in a tweet. In response, Musk he tweeted(Opens in a new window) back: “We have to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely solely on advertisers. How about $8?”
The company plans to charge users for the blue checkmark as early as this month via a new Twitter Blue subscription, according to(Opens in a new window) on The Verge. If a user does not pay then they will lose their verified blue tick within 90 days.
Musk is working on the idea after securing $44 billion to buy Twitter, a company that has historically failed to turn a profit. Last year alone, the company reported operating losses of $493 million. Therefore, Musk needs to work quickly to change the social media platform.
King and other celebrities, as well as brands, can certainly afford $8 to $20 a month to keep their verified blue checkmarks. But as a King explained(Opens in a new window) to one user on Twitter: “It’s not the money, it’s the main thing.”
Twitter added the blue checkmark in 2009 as a security feature to help users distinguish high-profile accounts from scammers. It’s also clear that celebrities like King help increase Twitter signups and engagement. As a result, instituting a $20 monthly fee for a blue checkmark could alienate famous people and damage Twitter’s reputation.
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In a subsequent tweet, Musk he said(Opens in a new window): “I’ll explain the reasoning in more detail before this is implemented. It’s the only way to defeat bots and trolls.”
Meanwhile, at least one hacker is taking advantage of the news by spreading phishing emails impersonating Twitter that claim a user can keep their verified blue checkmark for free if they hand over their password and phone number to Twitter.
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