SAN FRANCISCO — New Twitter head Elon Musk said Tuesday the site will charge a monthly fee of $8 to users who want a coveted blue tick by their name in a plan he says will solve the site’s bot and troll problems while creating a new revenue stream for the company.
The announcement comes only days after the world’s wealthiest man took sole control of the social media giant in a contentious $44 billion deal.
“Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” Musk, who has styled himself as a free-speech champion, tweeted, in reference to the platform’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue.
Under the new plan, paid subscribers would receive Twitter’s famous blue checkmark that signals a verified, authentic account.
That feature is currently offered only to public figures, an approach Musk described as a “lords & peasants system.”
He said Twitter Blue subscribers would also receive “priority” placement in “replies, mentions & search,” which he called “essential to defeat spam/scam.”
There would also be expanded video abilities, fewer ads and the possibility for users to get a “paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with us,” he said.
Twitter Blue currently allows users to access certain news sites for free and without ads, such as the Los Angeles Times.
“This will also give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators,” Musk tweeted.
Addressing the worries of some Twitter users that their blue check mark would lose its notoriety, he also announced “a secondary tag below the name for someone who is a public figure, which is already the case for politicians.”
The Twitter Blue service currently offers various other premium features, such as allowing subscribers to edit their tweets.
The new plan’s pricing, up from the current $5 per month, would be adjusted by country “proportionate to purchasing power parity,” Musk added in a reply to his original tweet.
Musk re-tweeted and replied to users praising the paid-verification idea, saying the move “will destroy the bots.”
“If a paid Blue account engages in spam/scam, that account will be suspended,” Musk wrote. — (AFP)