What does Elon Musk want from Twitter? Since the acquisition on Friday October 28 of the American social network by the whimsical billionaire, a fervent defender of a very permissive vision of freedom of expression, hypotheses and rumors have multiplied about the changes to come for the company and especially its users. . In recent days, several specialized sites had claimed that the boss of Tesla wanted to make account “verification” chargeable, which makes it possible to distinguish distinguished users with a blue badge showing a “tick”. So far, according to Twitter, this badge “indicates to users the authenticity of a public interest account” and is reserved for accounts that are “authentic, well-known and active”. This badge thus makes it possible to certify the profiles of companies or public figures, such as politicians, sportsmen, stars or journalists.
Pay to be certified
In an article published on Sunday, October 30, the American site specializing in technological news Platformer had claimed that “Twitter is strongly considering charging its users to stay verified on the service.” Ensuring to keep his information from “two people familiar with the matter” within Twitter, the journalist behind the scoop Casey Newton explained that “if the project materializes, users [certifiés] will have to subscribe to Twitter Blue for $4.99 a month or lose their badges”.
Twitter Blue is an offer launched in June 2021 and currently only available in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand which provides access to some premium features (but does not include verification) for a $4.99 per month subscription. Casey Newton claims that “Executives of the new company owned by Elon Musk spent the weekend discussing this initiative and developing related plans.”
According Platformer, the social network would thus hope to push the more than 423,000 accounts already certified to subscribe to Twitter Blue, at the current price of 4.99 dollars. Conversely, a source also tells the media that the verification could be integrated into the Blue subscription. By means of a subscription, users of Twitter Blue could thus afford a blue badge, reserved so far for the elite of accounts deemed notorious by Twitter.
In an article published Monday, October 31, the American information site The Verge, also a tech specialist also mentioned this track, but advancing a higher amount of “20 dollars a month for verification” and adding that Twitter employees had until November 7 to initiate this option if they did not want to be fired.
Indicating hold its information from “people familiar with the subject and an internal mail” consulted by the media, The Verge therefore advances the hypothesis of a modification of Twitter Blue in a subscription to 19.99 dollars which would allow the subscriber to obtain a verification badge in addition to the options already offered. Such a device could mean that the certification conditional on notoriety is accessible to more users.
With regard to profiles already certified by a badge, The Verge indicates that “verified users would have 90 days to subscribe or lose their blue tick”.
Blue badges for the people, secondary beacons for the elite
In a series of messages published on Tuesday November 1, the boss of Twitter confirmed his desire to introduce the possibility of buying a blue badge for all users of the social network, and specified its cost for Internet users. Believing that “the current caste system on Twitter that determines who does or does not have a blue check mark is bullshit”Elon Musk proposed to return “Power to the people ! With Blue for $8 a month”.
For this price which should be adjusted in each country “based on purchasing power parity”Musk therefore offers a blue verification badge but also a priority system in the appearance of replies, mentions and searches, but also the possibility of publishing long videos and audio files and the reduction of displayed advertisements by half.
The arrival of such a blue badge within everyone’s reach does not mean that notorious accounts will blend in. In a tweet, the billionaire suggests that“there will be a secondary tag under the name for people who are public figures, which is already the case for politicians”.
“How about $8?”
The hypothesis, now confirmed, of a paid verification is causing a stir on the social network. It had aroused the ire of the writer Stephen King, American star of horror and fantasy, who had reacted to the amount of 20 dollars mentioned by The Verge: “20 dollars a month to keep my blue badge? Damn, they should be paying me. If it’s set up, I disappear like Enron [référence au géant courtier de l’énergie américain qui a fait faillite en 2001 dans une affaire de fraude et de manipulation financière, ndlr].»
Threat to which Elon Musk responded: “You have to pay the bills one way or another! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. Before proposing another price: “How about $8?”, he had proposed to Stephen King. A tariff on which it therefore seems to have now stopped.
Article updated on November 1, 2022 at 11:25 p.m.: added announcements from Elon Musk on his November 1 Twitter account.