Elon Musk, the new self-proclaimed ‘Chief Twit’, has caused quite the stir since completing his tumultuous $44bn Twitter takeover deal. His first port of call? Tweeting “let that sink in” alongside a video of him gallivanting into Twitter’s California HQ with a porcelain sink. His second? Terminate the employment of chief execs Parag Agrawal and Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde and have them publicly escorted off the premises.
His third? Give safe employees their first ultimatum, introduce paid verification by a strict deadline or have their contracts terminated too.
Musk sure doesn’t seem to be pulling any punches on his mission to “free the bird”, and he seems to be having a great time doing it. But while his antics and tweets are definitely pulling in a lot of attention, most people don’t seem to be happy with his first significant change surrounding verification.
The billionaire’s plan is simple. Change Twitter’s current optional ‘Twitter Blue’ subscription service of $4.99 a month to a more expensive $19.99 a month and lock all verification blue ticks behind that paywall.
Musk told employees who were working on implementing the service on Sunday that they had until November 7th to launch it or they would be fired, The Verge reported. The publication cited internal correspondence seen by its reporters and people familiar with the matter.
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Twitter Blue first launched around a year ago with additional features for a monthly fee, allowing users to customise the app’s home screen, along with other tweaks.
Twitter’s quarterly reported earnings as a company after the subscription launch showed that advertising still dominated its revenue – something Musk has been vocal about wanting to change. The Chief Twit confirmed he wants subscriptions to become over half of the company’s overall revenue eventually.
“I think Musk should think first about how attractive his product is before he thinks about how much to charge for it,” Richard Stone, founder of communications firm Stone Junction, told Verdict.
“Most people’s Twitter feeds in 2022 are an oasis of calm interrupted only by the occasional ball of tumbleweed and Musk’s own proclamations.”
Stone believes that celebrities and influencers losing their blue tick on Twitter is unlikely to make them “run in terror” and even “devalues the concept of verification for micro-influencers.”
Stone claims that it will ensure that people who have the tick “also have the money to burn.”
Most of the online discourse seems to agree with this sentiment, with Twitter fans perplexed at Musk’s proposed changes.
“Nobody wants to pay for social media every month,” said one Twitter user.
Another said: “Imagine paying a billionaire $20 a month.”
“I’ve given up Facebook ages ago…have no problem dumping Twitter if I no longer like it,” said a third.
GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.