Wealthy business tycoon Elon Musk, who recently bought Twitter, tweeted on Tuesday that the platform’s present system for determining who gets a verification checkmark badge is “bulls**t” and that he plans to offer it to everyone for $8 per month.
“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bulls**t. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” Musk wrote, adding that the pricing will be “adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity.”
He continued, noting that people who subscribe will receive “priority in replies, mentions & search, which is essential to defeat spam/scam,” “ability to post long video & audio,” and “half as many ads.” He also added that there will be “paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with us.”
He said that the plan will provide the company with an income source to pay content creators.
“There will be a secondary tag below the name for someone who is a public figure, which is already the case for politicians,” he tweeted.
Musk noted that the plan aims to weed out bot accounts from the platform. He said that “this will destroy the bots. If a paid Blue account engages in spam/scam, that account will be suspended. Essentially, this raises the cost of crime on Twitter by several orders of magnitude.”
Currently, Twitter must deem an account to be “notable” in order for an individual or institution to receive a verification badge, and the company lists categories of accounts eligible for verification to include “government,” “news organizations, individuals in news & journalists,” “companies, brands & organizations,” “entertainment,” “sports & gaming,” “activists & organizers,” and “content creators & influential individuals.”
Musk has placed the description “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” on his Twitter account.
On Monday, author Stephen King balked at the idea of shelling out $20 per month to retain his verification badge, tweeting, “F*** that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.”
“We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?” Musk responded on Tuesday. “I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls,” he added.